A story….in the beginning…

•January 11, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I went to the mailbox.

Usually my wife does that for us, but a major headache had forced me to leave work early, so I stopped down by the road to pick up the mail.

Once inside, I tossed it on the couch and went to the bathroom.

Then I lay down to take a nap.

None of these was my normal routine, or the routine I had followed since we had been married four years ago.

“Hey…..hey….”

I opened my eyes to find her standing over me. Then the clock on the nightstand; it was 2:22 p.m. October 12, 2015. She was holding an opened envelope with some papers.

“Hey…” she repeated again. I could hear a tone in her voice that I knew as confusion.

I sat up in the bed, the headache still there.

“What’s up?”

Reaching out with the papers she continued.

“What is this?”

Taking them before reaching for my glasses on the nightstand.

“Let me see.”

It was immediately recognizable to me. And I knew the explanation to follow would be difficult, and change things forever.

“Do you have a safety deposit box at a bank in Chattanooga? What would be in it?”

This was not going to be an easy story to tell, or for her to accept.

“Hey, are you going to answer me?”

The clock now said 2:24 p.m.

Swinging my feet off the bed and to the floor I told her, “I don’t know how.”

“What does that mean?” She took the papers back. “This is your information, and it was forwarded to our address.”

She held the envelope out. I could see the yellow forward sticker.

It wasn’t like her to be so concerned. The confusion was turning to a low simmer the longer I looked at her without a response.

“What is this about? Is there something you are not telling me?”

2:26 p.m. I stood up and walked past her to the kitchen without speaking. I knew she was following, but I didn’t stop until I was by the refrigerator.

“Are you going to tell….”

I cut her off as I opened the freezer and pulled out the bottom drawer.

“please….”

“Well!”

She was getting angrier.

I pulled a plastic bag from the back corner of the freezer and pulled the foil wrapped joints out in front of her, then I put the drawer back.

“I am not sure what to say.”

She looked at what was in my hand as I walked out to the back porch and lit one of the joints.

“What in the hell is that? What are you doing?”

I sat in one of the chairs and motioned for her to sit in the other. She refused and waved the mail at me again.

“Who are you! Is that fucking pot?”

I took another hit of the joint, then another, before looking at her. I motioned again to the chair.

“Please….please just sit down.”

Tears were rolling down her face as she sat down, staring not at me, but at the letter.

I didn’t know where to start. So I took the letter from her.

“This is mine. For you, this will not sound like a story about the guy you know….”

I folded the letter, and put it in my back pocket.

“…but it is a part of who I am. It cannot be erased.”

I took her hand.

She pulled away.

I took a deep breath.

“I was 13. I had gone hunting with a friend of my dad.”

She knew that today I wouldn’t even swat flies, so this caused her to look up at me. I could see the questions, more confusion.

I looked toward the woods behind our house.

“It was rabbit. We were hunting for rabbit.”

 

 

Watermelon Kool Aid please…

•January 10, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I like Kool Aid. Grape is my favorite, although the blue raspberry is a close second; watermelon you can keep. I drank them as a kid, and now I pour it from tiny squeeze bottles into bottled water because, to be honest, I would rather have the watermelon flavor than plain water – my personal opinion is that it just sucks.

As much as I like Kool Aid, I would never have drank the Kool Aid offered by Jim Jones…nor do I have a taste for corporate Kool Aid and its flavor of the month club…and just as distasteful is the newest flavor I am being asked to swallow…gender neutral.

On tv this morning, I saw that I should write or say “they” instead of “he” or “she”. This is after (was it a scandal?) some diversity groups pushed for everyone to do this also.

They said (it was he for the record) that “they” (again HE said) is a favored personal pronoun….it promotes the gender neutrality that we must, in order to be PC, accept. In that second, I put down my glass of grape Kool Aid and picked up my pc (computer – did I offend it by calling it a pc…hmmmm) and started this rant.

Let us (he’s, she’s, those stuck somewhere between) be who we are, what we are, how we are….I really don’t care about that, nor do I have any desire to exclude you from my life. But the reality is that we have defined the male species and the female species – in humans, animals, plants….in writings, in plays, in movies (how else can he say or she say???) since we crawled from the primordial ooze or wherever you feel we started.

My grandson…my grandperson??…grandthem???….dishrag….is a “he”. He comes to my house, he laughs with me, he plays with toys – I don’t give a shit if he likes Barbie over GI Joe, he…he…he…is of the male species. So as long as he is unable to tell me that his choice is to change that…which is completely possible in this day and time; and his choice if he so decides (which would be with my love and support by the way – no matter my opinions)…he will be “he”.

I guess to be honest, what I am trying to say is that I don’t want this world to be just plain, gender neutral, flavored water. I want some grape Kool Aid, I want blue raspberry, I want all colors of the rainbow and all the nuances that each of those adds to the mix….I want him to love her, him to love him, her to love her…us to just love each other and quit fucking getting our panties, boxers, tighty whities….that again is your choice…in a bunch over some personal pronouns.

So….he said that she was with him on the way to her house. He was driving her car. They (there is your they) all agreed to meet there to support his decision to switch from the male species to the female species. He understood that it was his mother who would fight it the most, and his father may never accept “her”….but they would love him regardless…and they would all drink Kool Aid for dinner.

I am PC’d out….going to get a glass of watermelon Kool Aid…..it will be easier to swallow.

Ramblings of an old soul…

•January 5, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Took one of those silly little Facebook (what do you call them) quizzes – that promised to tell me “How old is your soul?”

Now I understand why I feel a bit tired sometimes, why my mind wanders….it told me…

“Your soul is 3121 yrs old. People can see it in your eyes. You’re an old, experienced and mature soul whose seen life in different ways, yet still is full of love for it.”

Googled the events of 1106 BC to see what might have been happening during the year my soul was created. It says that nothing notable happened. I did find that there was a couple of lunar eclipses and a solar eclipse….I would have been 6 when the Mycenaean civilization ended and the Greek dark ages started…and the New Kingdom in Egypt ended.

Many years ago I read Gary Zukav’s Seat of the Soul, did I subconsciously read it to see if he really knew about me and my longevity? It did lead me to the Dancing Wu Li Masters and an intense interest in physics….hmmmmm…connected?

Am I merely part of a collective soul? If that is true, that would most likely make me an infant in the family of souls…my consciousness learning to explore this place and time – reporting back to the mother soul….or the mother ship??? Google, here I come…

Anyway…made me smile at the thought that all of the paths I have taken seeking knowledge, all of the religions I learned something about, the books I have read, the classes I took in school and college….even the crazy stuff I have found on the internet (not all good for the record)…the experiments with drugs, alcohol…meditation, Shirley MacLaine’s philosophies….metaphysics…God…Buddha…diving into my tiny bit of Cherokee heritage and the memory of the way my grandfather would speak in the language, its mystical attachment….searching…seeking…

…the owl I saw outside my bedroom window as a child, in what felt like daylight though it was around midnight…..Whitley Strieber sparked a whole new path to explore when he described what I saw in his book….and a new definition in Communion….aliens or angels among us….

…where was I….

I guess at 3121 years old, it is acceptable to get sidetracked.

I am not certain my life has been lived that differently than others (my Joy thinks so a bit), but I do think I have taken it in from as many angles as possible. Trying to know, trying to rationalize it, trying to make sense of it all. I don’t always understand the hurt we can cause each other, that I have caused at times to those I cared about; but I do love this world. I trust that it will take care of us and give us what we need.

Maybe I just look that old, so this quiz picked that up….I look pretty damn good for 3121….

….even if I do look like hell for 53.

….anyway……back to life, back to reality….or not.

 

At 3121 years, I am old enough to decide for myself.

….sorry….

•January 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I told someone today that it is going to be a long year. He replied that it was going to be 365 days long. While he was technically wrong, it is a leap year so we get an extra day, it hit me that his statement was accurate.

This year will be no longer than the last.

I listened as the conversation continued, but I was lost in the thought that this year would actually be just like the one before, and before it, and before….

I found myself wishing that he was wrong. I wanted it to be longer; no matter what it brings.

I want our kids to enjoy more time on this earth, I want dishrag age slowly, not as fast as I know it will feel to me…I want more time with my Joy…I want more time in the sun or the rain…just more time to breathe in the world around us.

I want days to last weeks, and weeks to last months….for one calendar year on my aging body, I want 12 years of time with family and friends.

My God, I spent so many years wishing away time – and I wake to find that that wish has been granted…I couldn’t wait to grow up, to be an adult…now I want to sit playing with dishrag, looking at pictures in books of trains and ducks and shoes with wonder…..I want to have my mother carry me to bed, my dad to pick me up….I want to learn the taste of foods for the first time, try juice, pull off my socks and refuse shoes….

My whining that this year would be long because of the shitty and unrealistic amount of work that lay ahead of me had me wishing more time away without saying it out loud. Please do not grant me what I was asking inside! Please do not make this year be over!

I have too many things to do that will compensate for the bad, too many memories that I do not have….I may not be able to know the feel of grass for the first time, or the sting of a mosquito; but I can take dishrag to the beach as I did my daughter…seeing his expressions as the waves first touch his sockless feet….I can go places I have never been, see things that I have only heard or read about…

I am sorry that I complained about the time that lay in front of me…….I welcome it.

 

 

Bottle of dishrag to go….

•January 3, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Today, I chased dishrag down the hall, lay on the bed – which is taller than him – and would make sounds when he raised his head up trying to find me; with both, he just laughed or ran yelling with a smile that brings me such happiness. Those moments erase all of the chaos and worry that normally fills my head.

If I could find something like that in a drink, or a pill…I would get lost in it. The only thing I know that equals it is when my Joy smiles at me; with her soul…a smile that is not just a look, but a feeling.

But now…neither is happening and I am thinking about dragging myself back into the cubicle that houses my person for too many hours, to do work that has no end.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…..the sound the voice in my head is making! Also, the sound that dishrag makes as I chase him down the hall….but the voice in my head has no smile…it knows the chances of success; of achieving or completing all that I need to do tomorrow are as close to zero as you can get…..

The beauty of acceptance, of conceding to my opponent, is knowing my fate makes my day easier, less stressful.

I still have to play for a while…..but I don’t have to lose sleep or health over it….neither will help me to win.

 

…with resolve…

•January 2, 2016 • Leave a Comment

2016.

What resolutions could I make; and keep? What promise to myself would affect anything outside of my personal space here on the couch?

Stepped on the scales…Christmas candy and cookies have won the battle…so conquering them is on the list…

…too much caffeine during the same period…guess I should back off on that also….

…been converting an old piano into a hidden bar…guess I should finish that…

…camp more….fish more…hug more…love more…

…work…well, talk about that one in a minute…

During the last year, my Joy and I threw logic to the wind and rented a car to drive back from a trip to Arizona. Along the way we took side trips to see silly things to most (largest ball of twine, Dodge City, a marble store, twenty foot tall shuttlecocks, etc.), stood in four states at once, took a deep breath atop the continental divide…bought a tent and spent a night in a place I felt I was certain we would never return from, came home to find ourselves recalibrated. Attended the Moon Pie festival, a Cajun winefest, several other small events; it was a good year.

Work…caught myself losing sleep over work. Found myself overworked, and tired too often. Work I once found challenging, and at times rewarding, has become a source of pain; a struggle to continue at the frantic pace that is required. The recalibration became erased by November and I was back on the track, trying not to lose footing; trying not to lose my job…trying to be the best at everything that I did.

I keep this on my desk…

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said:

“Man.
Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

It makes me sad that I used to believe in living, not working for a living; the quote hangs in my face daily…and I still stress over a freaking sheet metal box with a few parts in it….just for money…

 

“I used to believe in living, not working for a living” – MRC 2016

Had I seen that quote anywhere, it would have sparked such thoughts of rebellion in me. It would have called to my core values “Stand up and say ENOUGH!” I would question the “me” who feels trapped by the dollars it puts in my pocket, the insurance it puts on my health that deteriorates regardless.

The fact that I thought it myself troubles me more; that I wrote it without deep sadness……………..

…that I wrote it….then felt such pain, such….regret….

I talk with a friend of mine at work who questions whether she should retire. I always ask, “Can you afford it?” She always replies the same. “Yes”. Then I say “do it” with such envy…angry jealousy would probably be more accurate. But she will be there Monday….

 

….ENOUGH!

We get a few seconds on this earth…too few…and they pass. They pass seemingly faster and faster with each sunrise, each sunset.

Living, not working for a living….

….find something that supports both…

…find some way to step off the track for a few…and still eat….

I found myself at work late while dishrag was at my house playing in the days before Christmas…I was missing time that I can never get back…I was sacrificing life for a living. While I sacrificed almost every free second to spend time with my daughter as she grew….I did give some of that time in pursuit of things that do not give me satisfaction, that only paid for me to have more than I needed.

 

Enough….time to turn to a different page in 2016………….that is my resolution. Living….gonna get back to that….

 

…Happy New Year………a few last cookies to get rid of….then off to bed….

 

No chipmunks……no way…

•December 14, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Watching Adele.

What else can you say..…if I had the words to describe that, I wouldn’t be dreading work in the morning, I would be celebrating my latest literary accomplishment instead of releasing meaningless words on this page. Oh well….

I just wrote a letter to our HOA cause they offended me with the tone of some letters that had sent to the neighborhood and need to let out more!!! Sucks for others at times that I am at least capable of stringing together sentences.

Rambling thoughts…..disconnected….may be from being sick all weekend….but…

Tuning up to celebrate Christmas with my Joy and Dishrag….yeah, ok, and everyone else….but can’t wait for a Dishrag and Steve Christmas.

I know saying Christmas, or Merry Christmas or anything like that is offensive to some….probably no more than what I am about to say – so log off, google something else, or suffer this…….I warned you…so….my Christmas is the kind I grew up with. It wasn’t about church and the little baby Jesus, it wasn’t about Mary or mangers or any other notion that drives societies, religions or entire populations to crusade trying to eradicate those who don’t agree. It wasn’t, and still is not that to me.

It is about giving, it is about Santa (or the magic of Virginia’s Santa Claus), it is lights on the tree with few presents that have meaning for those they are intended for under it, it is peace, love, hope for a new year…..close friends and family….It is “It’s a wonderful life” looping in the background as Clarence gets his wings. It is a “miracle on 34th street” kinda Christmas – where we at my house don’t give a fat rat’s ass what your religion, race, sexual preference, alcohol choice or how done you like your toast…for a few hours we can break bread and share that which we have with everyone….and dreams can come true.

It is going to Waffle House for breakfast and leaving a hundred dollar tip for those who work that day to care for those they love, to a chinese buffet for dinner cause they are open….it is 20 bucks in a salvation army bucket and smiling at the person ringing the bell….stopping for someone who looks like they need help, just to help.

It is giving something of yourself to everyone you pass – a single simple smile if that is all you have to give at that moment. Just being ok with everyone for a while.

Some of you know I was a mall santa way back in the day. I was at the time an atheist serving as a symbol of commercial Christmas, sponsored by a Jewish store owner stationed in a chair with a pillow belly and glasses with no glass in them – I explained them away as magic when asked……put there to take pictures with all nationalities, colors, sexes….just for memories that some of you may now possess….funny now that I wrote that….some of you may have pictures with a seventeen year old mall santa in your scrapbook that looks exactly like me……cause it was….hmmmmm…..if your pic is from 1979 at two rivers mall I was one of the “helpers”……just sayin….

….sorry….distracted…..

Anyway….my Christmas was formed by my parents and our time in Alaska, our move to Tennessee and the fortune that put me there in that chair.

It wasn’t the kids who pulled the beard, it wasn’t the kids who brought catalog pages (long before the internet!), it wasn’t the kids who were so excited or scared that they peed on me as the pictures were taken….

…it was the kid who when I asked what he wanted for Christmas said to a 17 year old child who didn’t believe in much of anything pretending to be santa….when this kid told me all he wanted was for his sibling to be able to walk….

That selflessness, at such an innocent age….it taught me that it doesn’t fucking matter what color I am, or they were….it doesn’t matter what god I pray to or don’t….it doesn’t matter if I am married to a man or a woman…or both…..if I am Muslim, Catholic, Atheist, Baptist, wiccan, gonna leave someone out who will be offended – sucks to be you who cannot celebrate, all of whatever you are or believe…..

…..in my Merry Christmas I plan to teach dishrag the same things I taught his mom, my bug…..that it ain’t always about you and your beliefs. It ain’t always about some cause. Sometimes it is just about a fake tree and the lights, it is about singing some silly song about your grandma and some reindeer, it is about making fudge…..caramel corn – eating it till you are sick!! Zsu Zsu’s petals…….

Some days, it is just about someone else……………somedays you just want to wish the impossible for those you love.

 

Some days….

….well, anyway….that is my kind of Christmas…….and it will be merry if I want it to be…….

 

……………………..dishrag……if you get old enough to read this…..Yes, there is a Santa Claus….he lives inside you, in all of us who still believe in love and hope, living with tolerance and compassion. Signed Steve.

 

Hee, hee, heh, hah, ho

•November 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Woke up this morning (camping trip with the r-pod = #4) to find the water frozen, my body aching and the wood a bit too green to build a roaring fire. It is twenty too cold degrees outside and woody woodpecker is laughing….actually just pecking the tree….but manically in my mind. And in spite of all that could start this day off on a less than wonderful note, did you see the first two words of this paragraph….woke up; another day to live and feel the sun on my face.

I fired up some charcoal, grilled some low sodium bacon and cooked oatmeal with pecans in an iron skillet over the heat. The fire had actually caught a bit by then, so I stood listening to the woodpecker, while watching an 8 point buck watch me as it foraged (for whatever they forage for in the forest) in what felt like….well, it was still 20ish degrees here at Fall Creek Falls….so it felt freaking cold.

My Joy was still under the covers, I could hear her turn over now and again – probably ’cause I kept banging the side of the camper with a frozen water hose….not sure. I picture her dreaming of me and rolling to and fro….ok, it was me banging around…..thankfully I brought a small propane heater to set under the tent that attaches to the front of the Arrrrrr-Pod in the early morning briskness….but since it has turned to full blown arctic winter in Tennessee, I used it to thaw the water and then went inside.

There was a small girl playing with her little brother or sister a few sites away – couldn’t tell with all the clothes the parents had bundled it in – as she stood on an empty fire pit I heard her proclaim herself to be the “Queen of Fire”….then the “Queen of Sticks and Fire”….drowning out the woodpecker who refused to move on with his life…and for a few seconds I enjoyed being in the presence of royalty…..and thought about little dishrag….

Everywhere we have walked, every fall we have seen, every inch of every piece of ground we have covered….we find ourselves looking forward to a time when dishrag can follow with us and we can share with him the beauty that I wish we could have shared together as a couple with our kids…..insert silent lamenting sighs or sounds here…but not regret for the road to here…….or that maybe one day we still can convince our kids to join us on our adventures….hmmmmmmm…..maybe…

 

……and life is as it should be in my opinion…..for myself at least today…..being savored.

 

Hee, hee, heh, hah, ho. Hee…..in a woody woodpecker voice…..I love being alive.

 

 

Thought I had shared this in October….

•November 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

It has rained for three days now. And the highest temp has been just below 70 degrees. My feet are shriveled from fishing in the rain, my clothes are damp and I am pretty sure that if someone from the outside world were to get close enough; I would smell less than attractive.

And it has been great.

We went to Ohio, picked up our RPod from Couches RV Nation, and drove here to Dale Hollow Campground. After setting it up (fortunately during a rain break) and attaching the dome – a tent like structure that adds more space – my Joy and I moved in for the weekend; and began our second camping trip together…..not as spur of the moment as the tent we bought in Colorado to sleep in the wilderness on our first trip….but again, it has been great.

Well, except for the fact that I had to drive several miles; finally ending in a parking spot beside the dam that would allow me to call in for a meeting to find it had been canceled…..and if we backed up too far, we lost that signal too….we are loving our ArrrrPod (complete with a jolly roger that Joy made) and the fact that I cannot get any phone signal here.

There are potatoes cooking in the convection oven to compliment the two pound rainbow trout I caught this morning…..bragging that he was so big compared to the 6 inchers that I had been catching….a little Zach Brown Band in the background, my Joy next to me……

I cannot help but feel that this is closer to how I would like to live. No rushing to jobs, to meetings (to parking lots trying to get service for a meeting), to buy unneeded things….rushing past my life, skipping events chasing money and security. Before anyone says anything, yes this camper costs too, and the site it is parked on is not free; but it would definitely cost less than my current income to maintain – and the overhead of this “house” vs the 2000 plus sq ft home where we spend most of our time is (not exponentially, but) much less.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

I stood on the banks of the Obey River the last couple of days casting, reeling….casting, reeling…thinking about the unhappiness I feel at what I do for a living; wondering why I keep worrying, stressing, driving to be the best when it is not what gives me happiness…fishing for answers…casting, reeling…feeling so content with just being outside – even in the rain, the cold….still so alive!

Why couldn’t I have found the wisdom passed to me during my open heart surgery two years ago…twenty years ago? Was I just too stubborn to understand…to accept the message…in my youth; did it really take a true glimpse at mortality to appreciate a day? Did I have to almost die to realize that today may be the last day I breathe – and do I really want to spend it earning money for or from corporate America? Is that me….no, afraid not any longer than I absolutely have to do it.

I thought of my dad who learned he had cancer about the same age as I am today – and wondered – had he found happiness? Had he discovered some insight into what it was that he wanted? Or had he woke up on that day, with that diagnosis, and realized that he had “overslept” and missed the morning where he got to realize what mattered….or had he been blessed enough to know all along? Did he suddenly rush to do or say things he hadn’t…or just sat down to await the inevitable?

Casting and reeling….learning more about me….deeper and deeper……and deeper…..

Do you want a cookie???

•July 27, 2015 • 1 Comment

There were three things that drove me to say yes.

A month or two ago, we ran into an old friend who was loading up with her boyfriend to travel to Washington. Day after day, I would see photos of that journey – the journey, no daily destinations; youth, free…living outside of expectations.

I had heart surgery, no heart attack, but quadruple bypass due to a close call….left alive, but in spite of that still forgetting to live every day.

And she asked me after we watched a movie (Big Game) that had some line saying something about “sometimes when you want a cookie, you just need to eat a cookie”….and I needed this cookie – something told me I had to have this cookie.

…so really four things….

I also missed the freedom I used to allow in my life, not cuffed to a job, mortgage or money for bills…the chance to just go appealed to me….to be in my twenties where I stayed away from convention and expectations of “normal”. To live.

So I said yes, we canceled out flight back to Nashville from Arizona (a family trip); struggled, but finally found a rental car that would not cause a second mortgage….and we set out on a 1300 mile drive – six days with no schedule….Nashville by Sunday.

I would personally say that I recommend you do or try something….virtually never, your life is not my business….but…maybe a Paul and Jackie’s Jackie Burger (once a month for me now), maybe the carrot cake at the Catfish House….laying outside on a dark night to watch a meteor shower…..and….

…..if you wife asks you to cancel a flight and drive across as much of the United States as you can…..or your spouse (it was my wife)…..say yes. The job will be there when you get home, if not, there are always other opportunities. This world will provide for you….this I ALWAYS believe….

….but our lives are not filled with tomorrows……and we are not promised any todays….so say yes. Do not hesitate.

Find your corner in Winslow, Arizona and stand there. Visit the places you thought were out of your reach when they taught you about them – the Petrified Forest really does exist. Try some Navajo Fry Bread (made by Navajo’s) as you walk through four states in a minute; talk with strangers about their children, their day. Win eighty dollars in a Ute Casino…lose 80 dollars.

Drive with no path, no reservations (for places to stay, or about where to go!)….look on a map, google (during those small periods that you can find signal) the largest, smallest, weirdest…just happen upon the continental divide or the geographic center of the 48 contiguous states.

Buy a tent, a sleeping bag and flashlight; stop in some remote spot and build a fire….watch the night drift past as the world…a world that again seemed as large and magical as it had when I was a child….spins through a universe.

If a sign grabs your attention, like Moon Marble Co, know that it may lead to an interesting demonstration of marble making. You may stop for gas and meet characters that will forever become a part of your story….or not.

Drive out of your way to see Boot Hill in Tombstone, Arizona; see Boot Hill in Dodge City, Kansas…have a sarsaparilla. Talk to a real cowboy, talk to a fake cowboy.

Ask some lady on a tour bus what brings her to the Grand Canyon, why does she smile driving all the people to the canyon. Find out why someone owns an old family motel in some out of the way town, what is the attraction.

How big are the windmills on the horizon if you drive as close as you can; just short of the no trespassing signs….find out.

What is causing the dust storm over the hill, what are the lights on the hills seemingly too far away, how big is the world’s largest ball of twine…how large are the shuttlecocks on the lawn at the museum in Kansas City (huge I tell ya)….how does fried cactus taste, rattlesnake, elk, buffalo….what does it feel like to sit where people built dwellings into the side of mountains?

My Joy tells me that I was different during those days. And I was.

I was unbound. I felt the sun, tasted the air, knew the enormity of our country…and my smallness among it all.

I left work behind for the first time since….since forever….I didn’t touch my phone most days….I lived in the moment….the moments we were sharing, the memories we were building with each passing mile.

I was alive. And was reminded….

….I am alive; some days I just forget to live. The four thousand miles we drove reminded me….more accurately afforded me the time and ability to remind myself….that I am alive.

so load up…..there is a foam henge (life size Stonehenge replica out of foam) between here and Virginia Beach….shrimp and grits on Lookout Mountain just before the hanggliding…..a café that doesn’t accept credit cards on the gulf coast….some winery in Indiana making a blueberry wine…..a pink block restaurant that serves only turkey in Michigan…..even Wickham statues between hwy 149 and hwy 13 just south of here are worth the drive…..

….throw a Moon Pie during the Moon Pie Festival, try some gator…..don’t say one day. Today.

Movies in the park with your neighbors….fishing in the creek away from it all…..

…………..and once a month….have that cheeseburger even though the doc says it may not be the best choice….sometimes, you just want a cookie….so eat a cookie.

And if anyone says “work will be there when you get back….let’s do it” and you can (you can by the way)…..just drive.

Fudgsicle or Let It Be….hmmmm

•May 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Always dynamic, the days begin with hope, and pass leaving traces along the lines of my face…in the new threads of my fabric; as happy memories, painful lessons – broken or realized dreams. Fortunately, they keep coming and I have been blessed with the ability to stand again and again after losing my footing…find my way back after losing sight of the horizon…given strength for some purpose I still do not understand.

I have always questioned myself, my actions, my beliefs; my choices. And today is no different. Actually these thoughts have been circling since Sunday. I was holding Dishrag, my Joy’s Hannah was here with her boyfriend doing laundry; my daughter was at the hospital with her friend (our adopted “favorite” daughter) whose mom had heart surgery (something all too familiar) and I felt such an overwhelming sadness.

This beautiful little boy, his mother…our shared children…our extended family….they were all here, unaware how deeply I fight to find answers; oblivious to my fear that I am leaving them nothing.

Maybe it was reliving the bypass surgery, maybe it was the innocent child in my arms, maybe it was seeing Hannah beginning her journey with this (seemingly) nice young man, maybe it was that my daughter was off to just be with her friend….who knows why (another thing I am now questioning), but I kept asking myself again and again…what I have done to make their lives better?

What is my legacy for them? Have I done anything of any value to make this world a better place or am I guilty of only taking; leaving a wake of nothing. Have I made a wave that will help carry them along, or just broken pieces off of all in its way?

I have tried to be a good person, failed…triumphed…failed again. When I see someone in need, I have always had extra, I try to give. But that isn’t my real problem. I know I could have been better and spend a few quiet minutes each day – not asking others to forgive me, but asking myself to accept that I have been less at times than I expected….asking myself to forgive me. Not wallowing in self-pity, but trying to brush some of the dirt from those lines I see in the mirror.

But have I done enough? I love with all I am, fight to protect them will all I have, work with an ethic driven by a need to care for them….is that enough? Have I taught the right lessons?

I guess as I scribble here (ok, type)….writing useless nonsense….I have stumbled across the real question du jour.

Have I taught the right lessons?

As I have struggled to put down my thoughts, I realize it is all the hate and anger, the intolerance and lack of respect in this world that I want them all to fight…..that is what I want to give them – to help them to see. Not just work hard, love hard, play hard…..don’t kick a dog, drive on your side of the road, brush your teeth, eat your vegetables…but learn, teach – PREACH tolerance. I want them all to help Dishrag to know a better world.

I have been very aware of race and color in my time, regretfully so – but I refused to let my daughter describe others by race or color, or to judge or profile….I have been hurt by religion and the choices made by those claiming piety – but I still believe that we all have a right to pray to our god (or to not have a god) and have shared that with them all, and they accept each other…..I have been violent and subjected to violence – but have, and will continue to teach peace to all who can hear….

But how do I carry those messages further? What the fuck can I do to help the world see that we are all human beings clinging to a freaking rock, scared and wanting to just live! How can I stop the violence of religion on religion, religion against human, race against race, race against itself????

What are the magic words that will speak to everyone so that Dishrag can walk onto any street, into any church, synagogue, mosque….temple….neighborhood and be able to smile at all he passes without fear….to sit and share a meal with any race, religion….any human? To go to a park and not give a shit if he sits next to a couple and them be men, women, man and women….all nationalities, all beliefs….and know that they ALL respect the fact that we were all born of this world and belong here?!?!?

How can I help him, them, you…..myself?

Tolerance….Respect….maybe that is how I will spend my next thirty years……hopefully it will not be a painful lesson – for me…hopefully I can take this handful of people……………and…………..

………….God, I hope I live long enough to see it…

 

Maybe I will just go get a fudgsicle before bed…..might be easier………..

 

 

My baby has a baby…..

•May 10, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I spent the day with my Joy’s family for mother’s day. They all came by for breakfast; but mostly just to hang out. It was kinda cool to see them all together; the generations growing, the family expanding….the family that I have been a part of a short while, but it doesn’t feel that way…

I also was fortunate enough to have my daughter here, with dishrag; her first mother’s day.

…my daughter….my baby……her first mother’s day……

I sat holding the little man and watching her – as she watched me – wishing I could back up to the days that I held her; my baby, my bug…..but at the same time proud of the mother she has been so far. I still want to help her, give her advice…save her from things that I know only exist in my parent head…a place where I still feel that I need to be there for her every single day….

….I looked at the little guy….and want to do the same….but I have learned a couple things….

I know that I cannot change who he will be….I can show him examples as I did with my bug…but he like her, will accept what he will accept – and reject what he will reject – in spite of me….to be, like my wonderful bug; themselves; as we all do.

….but it doesn’t keep me from feeling like I could have done more….been more…

………but then I see her…..and I know despite the failings I had as a single dad….I showed her what it was like to love…and be loved….

And I see it in the way she holds him, and worries how I hold him….the way she watches our every move…his every move….I see that she will be a great mom to that little boy.

It was a good day…..

Share ………publish………..posted……

•January 6, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Could bitch that I can’t sleep…

Cry about the year starting with the flu…

Whine that the hill is just too steep…

Or how today I am just blue.

Oh…wait…just did….

 

This time last year I was sitting in a recliner, trying to hear my heart beating while hoping it didn’t stop again; at the same time on the verge of giving in to the increasingly strong desire to just quit. How easy to give in to that voice as it screams “just lay down”, “isn’t this too hard?”…how many times I sat in tears still trying to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t walk up the stairs, couldn’t walk from one end of the house to the other without needing to rest…feeling useless.

My whole life I had been stronger than any challenge – oh, there were times I stumbled; time where I chose the wrong options, picked the wrong door – but after each failure, I stood up and walked on…maybe slowly, but forward. This weakness, this was different.

I was dreaming of things that made me lose sleep in fear of visiting them again, I kept finding myself lost between the “alive” me I knew and the “re-booted” version; a place where I was no longer certain that I slept…or did I cease to exist for seconds, minutes; hours.

I was unable to take care of things, simple things…to shower alone, to load a dishwasher, cook, drive…hold my Joy, my daughter…I couldn’t lay in bed, if I did, I couldn’t get up.

Like I said, this weakness was different.

I never thought I would be whole; as good as I was before the surgery. And, I wasn’t in the end. I resembled the guy I was before it – smaller in the waist, thinner in the face – but looking in the mirror (well, the scar that divided my chest into two halves was there too), most wouldn’t have seen the difference.

But I knew I was not the same.

I know I will never be the same. I will not allow it.

 

I will not allow myself to worry about stuff that doesn’t matter.

    I do struggle with this one at work…in the end, work will not define me.

I will not allow myself to be angry without extreme justification.

    I do struggle with this one…sometimes, I JUST BREATHE OUT SMILING.

I will not forget to live (smell the roses they say).

    I do struggle to let go sometimes…but it is only seconds we have on earth.

I will not forget the serenity prayer (no 12 steps, just believe), or to be mindful and thankful.

    I do have to remind myself…I am human.

 

 

As usual….a self-indulgent journey….so sue me….but I am going to bitch that I cannot sleep and had to do something.

I am crying that I had the flu and this is the first day I have been out of bed – that shit sucked!

I am whining that today, the hill seemed too steep…the challenges tested me too much and I almost gave in.

And though blue can all too often be my color…I am going to read this again…then get up and take some steps forward…to the bed where my Joy is suffering the same flu…and be thankful for the fact that I did make it another year in spite of my life choices…in spite of me.

It is a few days late…like my whiney butt said, I was unable to raise my head till today…but Happy New Year.

….maybe I should have just went with a couple glasses of wine instead of this whine…..dishrag doesn’t cry this much….

Screw it……..

Share ………publish………..posted……

 

…refill? Yes…as long as the pot is full…

•December 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

“would you like a refill?”

It was just a line from a movie. Some random dude sitting at a counter, talking with a waitress about some script he had written, drinking coffee. Usually something that just passes by unheard in a flurry of meaningless syllables that fill hours; it stopped me, it stopped time.

I pictured myself walking across the street from Rossville Elementary school, stopping at the fruit stand to get a banana on the way to a baby sitters house; someone I was kin to in some way. I remembered a diagram in the newspaper during that time, a fiend lost her father to a bulldozer accident. A fight in my driveway, my parents fighting, a spider I had stolen and the guilt that followed.

I was on the playground in Alaska watching as a boy jumped onto ice that we knew was not solid enough to hold him, and saw him go under, almost freezing because someone had dared him. I was sledding down the hill just a few hundred yards from there; outside Ursa Major Elementary at Fort Richardson. Eight stars of gold on a field of blue, the song played in my head. Robert, a friend who would end up at Ft. Campbell; a friend who I would later see after many years in the mall. He didn’t recognize me at first, the Santa suit throwing him a curve.

I was sitting on the bluff that looks over the river bottoms not far from where I sit, moody, pouty and trying to understand the whys of being a teenager. I was hunting squirrels from that spot, chasing rabbits just over the ridge with Bobby. Running through those bottoms, going nowhere, imagining that one day I would find something magical there. Fishing in ponds that belonged to people I never knew, with people I no longer know. Cumberland Heights, Montgomery Central; the teachers, the principals, skipping class; all those I barely knew who are now gone forever.

My first kiss. My worst kiss. Love, hate…anger, sadness…joy. Fear, hope.

I felt the steel that tore my knee open, the sight of my knee cap exposed. The shock of my wrist snapping against a football helmet, the same as my knuckle came loose against my brother’s shoulder blade. My toe breaking against a cooler at Dairy Queen, heel spurs, heart surgery; the many times my back could no longer carry the load and failed me.

The racism I would love to pretend I never felt that existed in me as a younger man, the shame I knew as I realized who I was. The kindness I knew in the hearts of those hated by others, the love of those I never took the time to know as that same young man. The things I still do not fully understand but have come to accept.

My parents, who I still do not know, who I will never get the chance to know now. My brothers and sisters who are little more than strangers to me, their children, their children’s children. Cousins, aunts and uncles; little Larry who spent a bit of time with me, with us, before leaving this world way too early. Charley Mills, a friend who also went long before it was time…the Kiss tickets that he carried with him that day.

The first time my daughter cried, the first time she smiled, the first time I heard her laugh…say “I love you”. The fights, the misunderstandings…the thrill of her growing up in front of me. The expression of pure happiness when she got it right, the frustration when she didn’t. Remembering that small child taught me how to love, to finally understand what it really meant to truly love another human being. The sight of her son, little dishrag struggling his first few days.

The hug at Pancho Villa’s out by the interstate, the four churches between Elkton and Clarksville, the couch; how I finally saw the dream looking back at me as my Joy and I kissed. Jazz, Blues, football, hockey…friends…life, freaking life! Meeting her kids, learning her love for them. Her family, her friends, her fears and insecurities.

Would I like a refill? I guess I really don’t want a new cup for sure; this has been amazing…but I would like it to be topped off for a bit longer.

…lost…and found.

•December 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Went fishing this morning, didn’t catch anything to talk about, but the quiet allowed me time to wander through the space where thoughts are born…my personal wonderland that exists somewhere in the universe.

I couldn’t help but think what had brought me there, to that spot in time in Yellow Creek on my boat. So many things could have left me somewhere else, doing something else…or nothing at all; but there I was, a soft rain falling…cars passing on the road – people heading to their destination…not mine. Mine was about 100 yards from the boat ramp…no radio, no tv…just me and that moment…then I stopped thinking…

Yesterday, I walked from my house…past the house where I grew up…to the road that leads to the train tracks that cross the river…and back…four miles…one foot in front of the other…no radio, no tv…no influence from the bias of others…listening to the sound of the air flowing past, the ground mocing under my feet….

And in both instances, at both places; I lost myself in the “now” of that moment. For those seconds I understood what it was like to know life as it should be lived, as I believe anyway…with no yesterday, no regret, no fear; no tomorrow, no worries, no thoughts of what might be…just now….

On my own journey, travelling down my own road. Not hindered with issues in the world that do not concern me, not worried about religious beliefs of others changing my destiny, not considering the implications of new tax laws or right and left ideologies, politics…blessed with the wisdom to know that I cannot change those things anyway…

So with one foot in front of the other, with each ripple as a rain drop touched the surface…with each breath…I just was…

 

…too much strawberry wine one night…

•December 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Something was different today. Charlie couldn’t quite put his finger on what was going on around him, but he was certain that the day would not end like the last time that had come to the winery.

The band was playing old rock, blues and even mixing in some country; all of his favorite music. His wife was sitting next to him laughing with friends, as always, holding his hand as the sun slowly set behind them. Children danced randomly to the music as more people flowed into the vineyard. Like a hundred other Saturday nights, but he could not settle in and enjoy it; something was not the same.

“Charlie…..Charlie….hey Charlie…?”

He felt Lynn squeeze his hand. He turned to see her smiling, slightly buzzed from the second bottle of wine.

“What’s up?”

She frowned at him.

“I have been trying to get your attention.”

She took another drink before continuing.

“The band is good aren’t they? Do you want to dance with me?”

He reached under his chair and poured her another glass of Strawberry wine then stood up shaking the now empty bottle.

“I need to go to the bathroom first. And get another bottle.”

“You ok?”

Lynn seemed to be sensing his uneasiness.

“I am fine, my belly just hurts a bit. I will be right back. Anyone else need anything?”

He had spoken so softly that no one heard him over the music, so he leaned down to kiss his wife.

“I will be right back.”

He stood up and turned to see them just over her shoulder. Something inside of him, a voice, told him to stretch; to look at them. Charlie surveyed them, with an intensity he had never felt. Not only was he looking at them, he was charting their locations.

The voice was again in his ear.

…that is them…do you see it…

He could. They sat around a picnic table. Some of the seven men in chairs, some at the picnic table. He knew nothing of war, of violence, but he understood the circle they had unconsciously formed was trained into them; facing in all directions, viewing all possible entry points.

They were not enjoying the music, but instead seemed to be there supporting the oldest of them.

…he is the leader…

Even without the words, the thought, Charlie had already reached that conclusion.

…you know what I told you…

Charlie lightly brushed Lynn’s hair. She looked up at him.

“Why is your hand shaking so much?”

He could hear the words, but was unable to respond. The youngest of the men in the group was forcing a smile toward the oldest. There was something in that smile that brought a tear to Charlie’s eye. This man, half Charlie’s age, was fighting to fit in, to be accepted. He was smiling, but there was no doubt the fear and pain that was just below the surface.

…he has already done things, things that cannot be undone…

Charlie spoke out loud.

“I know.”

“You know what?”

He ignored Lynn as he moved to the cooler, lifting the lid and spilling the cheese and crackers across the ground.

…move slowly…

One of the men looked toward him.

…don’t hesitate…

Charlie reached into the cooler as Lynn started to get up. He reached toward her without looking in here direction and pushed her back into the chair.

“Charlie! What are you….”

She stopped talking as he pulled the gun from the cooler.

…the leader first…

Lynn was talking, the band was playing as children danced.

The oldest of the men slumped against the picnic table, then the youngest. The two facing him fell before they could stand fully, as Charlie moved to his right behind a small tree.

…to your left…

One of the men, the largest and strongest, fell over the leader and rolled to the ground with a hole in his chest. They had been prepared for years, and defended each other against many enemies, but had never suspected that an accountant would attack with such accuracy and ferocity.

…now walk toward your car…

He had turned listening to the directions before the last of them hit the ground.

Lynn was crying and scrambling to get away from the scene as she screamed at him in fragments, unable to comprehend what she had just witnessed.

“CHARLIE….WHAT….I DON’T KNOW WHO….THE GUN…I….”

But he was gone, already on the edge of the road.

…thank you…

The police man, posted to manage traffic yelled for him to put down the gun.

…point it toward him…

“But he will…”

…yes, he will…

Charlie stopped, turning first toward Lynn who stood mouthing words he couldn’t comprehend.

“I love you.”

Then he raised the gun toward the officer and pulled the trigger. The man fired back as the bullet hit feet in front of him.

…you have stopped the slaughter of hundreds of innocents today Charlie…

“I did what you asked. Is this all that you needed of me?”

He dropped to one knee as the shot pierced his chest, then rolled over on his back.

……………………..

A male nurse pulled the curtains apart and walked inside, passing the policeman standing outside. He walked over to Charlie and put his hand on his shoulder.

…you will be ok…

“What have I done? I never even held a gun….never hurt anyone.”

The hand remained on his shoulder.

…I told you that you were here for that moment, you were meant to destroy evil. Those men were once good, but had turned to killing innocent people for the sake of killing. Their souls had turned black, had walked the wrong path…

“Now I have done the same.”

…yes, but to save the life of her…

“Her?”

…a child yet unborn. A child who will give birth to another who will bring this world back to its center, who will show them the way…

Then Charlie was passed the vision of her, of her child. He saw what would have been, then he saw what would now be the future. He smiled.

The hand was removed from his shoulder and Charlie followed the man down the hall and away from any more pain.

…you have done well…

“Now what?”

…everything…

…for my Joy….

•December 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I was looking for something I wrote a long time ago. I cannot find it. Trying to paraphrase it will probably make it seem like so much less…I dunno….but here we go…it may be closer than I think, but it really doesn’t matter. The thought is what helps me to adapt.

….Sometimes life throws you curves, but it isn’t pitching anything that I cannot hit. Even if time and again, it is only a foul ball…at least I am still in the game….at least I am still at the plate….

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Yesterday was a long day – which is now behind us.

Today….dunno yet….

….tomorrow…well, we were never promised those anyway…..

Each day we all wake to a new day. Some better than the last, some equal to the last…occasionally, it just doesn’t quite end where you imagined. Choices are made, paths are taken, words are said…or go unspoken; but the inevitability that whatever the day brought…the fact that it will pass, is certain.

…time keeps on tickin, tickin….Steve Miller had that right….

And as long as it keeps ticking with you………it is ok with me…..

…but it is too early….

•December 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I am only delaying the inevitable trip downstairs to the treadmill this morning by stopping to write nothing of any value. I will eventually get there, I do it 7 days a week…I have missed a day or two over the last 12 months, but not many…and I hate a treadmill…I miss the warm weather; I could get outside and walk in the early morning air before a creature stirred….

See me bitching

Whine bitch whine…

…..do over…..

I am only delaying the inevitable trip downstairs to the treadmill this morning by stopping to write nothing of any value. I will eventually get there, I do it 7 days a week…I have missed a day or two over the last 12 months, but not many…and I hate a treadmill…I miss the warm weather; I wish I could get outside and walk in the early morning air before a creature stirred….enjoy the fact that I have been given another day to walk through, but the cold air on my newly slimmed down (slimmer anyway) body is less tolerant of the cold…so I am fortunate enough in a world where many have nothing that there is a treadmill downstairs.

Better…..

But……………

I am (only delaying the inevitable trip downstairs to the treadmill) this morning by stopping to write nothing of any value. I will eventually get there, I do it 7 days a week…I have missed a day or two over the last 12 months, but not many…and I hate a treadmill…I miss the warm weather; I wish I could get outside and walk in the early morning air before a creature stirred….enjoy(ing) the fact that I have been given another day
to walk through, but the cold air on my newly slimmed down (slimmer anyway) body is less tolerant of the cold…so
I am fortunate
enough in a world where many have nothing that there is a treadmill downstairs.

…..hmmmmmmmmmmmm……

I am enjoying the fact that I have been given another day. I am fortunate.

 

Damn it………now I better get off my lazy ass and begin appreciating that fact…..

 

(only delaying the inevitable trip downstairs to the treadmill)

In silence it waits. The device rivals those used during the Spanish Inquisition; with its spinning belt and constant reminder to go faster, faster….prodding you to continue longer and longer…to push yourself. It monitors your heart rate so you can reach a busting point, but then pulls you back to the edge where you just suffer….and whine…

….whine bitch whine….

(only delaying the inevitable trip downstairs to the treadmill)

…GET UP…….

…Fine bitch fine…..

What light from yon window breaks….

None…..

….quit typing to yourself….

Get up….

(only delaying the inevitable trip downstairs to the treadmill)

 

…go…

Downstairs to the treadmill.

…whatever….later.

Maybe I should talk to someone about these voices, these conversations within my head that are leaking….do I hear a faucet dripping…..

GO!!!!

….fine….

 

 

 

 

….the liberation of pralines and cream…

•December 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I missed you my friend. You are always willing to listen to my words, to take them without question….offering silence, but still allowing such clarity. I have missed the way I find myself with just a few keystrokes, a few phrases or misspelled words – at times grammatically incorrect. In my simple one sided conversations with you, I have found answers that days of contemplation would not reveal…that days of therapy could not unearth….that life couldn’t afford the time for me to understand.

You never talk about my insecurities, my weaknesses; instead allowing me to see them for myself against a non-judgmental canvas. In my darkest moments, you gave me light, hope….allowed me to dream of dragons, of magic, of evil…to tell my story, nonsensical musings…whatever the day brought…whenever the need arose…you are there.

 

….and now for something completely different…………..

 

Hurry….

I am….

Close the door…

Ok….where are we going today?

Dishrag looked over at Steve and waited. He put on his seatbelt before speaking again.

Well? Where are we off to today?

Steve reached for the key, turned it, and smiled across toward the boy.

Where do you think we should go?

The boy put his finger to his chin, faking deep thought….or maybe in his world believing it…living it.

Before he could answer, Steve grabbed his arm and pulled him closer.

Don’t tell anyone, but we may not survive this. I have to count on you to help me.

The boy jumped as a pounding came against the window (a soft knock).

Hold on dishrag…this is it!!

Steve turned to roll down the window as dishrag unbuckled his seat belt and jumped over his lap.

No grandma! We will die if you let the air……I am choking…Steve! Help!!

They both fell back closing their eyes while pretending to gasp for air.

She smiled.

I meant to tell you to get some ice cream too.

Dishrag and Steve revived at the same moment.

Put on your seat belt boy. We have to liberate some ice cream.

Yes captain!

He smiled at grandma and waved by.

Steve winked at her.

All systems go?

All systems go!

 

Ok, that sucked. But it was better than talking about the Titans…..or work…or jail…or work…..or…..i dunno….the price of gas.

 

…car dishrag, where r u………

•December 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I guess I should keep quiet. Some topics should be avoided, should be left to others who enjoy the confrontation of….wait, I like confrontation. I do not shrink and run from it…I do not turn my back to it…or cower….but this topic….anyway….what the hell…..

I have been to jail. I have been searched and “detained” on other occasions. I have been removed from a vehicle for questioning…..with intimidation.

These things happened to me not because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time….but because I was in the wrong place doing the wrong things. I wore my hair long….my attitude was “fuck convention”…I refused to conform to some ideal….I lived high on one thing or the other, I drank too much and drove….I was destructive to myself and to others….I was the problem.

But each time I was confronted….I complied…whether I agreed with “the man” or not, whether I was wasted out of my gourd….no matter if I had done anything wrong or not…I complied. There was an instance or two where my appearance was the reason I was singled out….not fair, but the price to pay for demanding that I not be a part of society – accepted by the majority….an instance or two where it was the company I was keeping – again, a price I accepted – though it became too high at times….but no matter right or wrong….I complied.

Handcuffs suck ass. The humiliation of being pointed at, or looked down upon for sitting in the back of a police car is overpowering. Even worse is having another adult look up your ass to make sure you are not carrying anything into jail, lifting your balls so he can have a better look. But I have also had my ass kicked; and I prefer the feel of cold steel or cold stares to getting my ass handed to me by a guy who deals daily with the worst of humanity; a guy who took a job with every intention of protecting and serving only to learn that it isn’t just helping old ladies cross the streets or writing tickets….but it is his job to deal with the miscreants daily…to see the abuse we as humans subject each other to…to face the violence against children…to go into domestic situations only to be attacked by the attacked….

Hell…let’s just go a step further to tell you that at one point, I smoked a joint with the guy who had given me my first ticket; I was doing 90 mph down Madison Street, got down to 75 before he clocked me – I deserved the ticket….again, it was me in the wrong place doing the wrong thing….so it shocked me to be fishing with friends and this guy hitting a joint…he was at that time working installing cable because he could no longer deal with it all…he had reached his breaking point. Still pissed me off once I realized who he was…another story, another time….much like the crack house in Chattanooga with the cop doorman….another time….

I am not writing this to judge him, or you…it is not my place to even consider that….I just want to write about me…and how I complied…..we are all human…filled with good an evil; and the choice of which you will expose to those we pass….you can judge yourself for yourself.

My last brush with the law, my car was parked upside down (except for that ticket on the way to Gatlingburg – 92 mph through Knoxville – not counting that one…again my fault)…..the county cop drove by, saw it, spun around and pulled up.

“have you been drinking?”

“A little….”

A little….it was 2 or 3 in the morning, I had been drinking beer and tequila since 3 the afternoon before…had just kicked over a bench in the Pancake House, been thrown out….so I was fucked up; hell, my car was upside down and I was bleeding from my head….he had a clue I had just lied.

But…I didn’t walk the less than a half mile to my house and hide, I didn’t fight with him when he tried to cuff me, I didn’t call him a dick head….I complied. When he drove me to the hospital, he pulled over and moved the cuffs to the front because I treated him with the same respect that I wanted from him…because I said “sir”, because I didn’t spit at him, bite him, kick him…cuss him….as we sat in the emergency room, I was drunk enough to say “well fuck” in front of the nurse who was drawing blood and he very sternly warned me to watch my mouth in front of her….let me reiterate – the list of the wrong places and wrong things I was doing was mine to own…it was mine…so I apologized….I complied.

I complied not just because of his badge. I complied not to bow down to “the man”…..I did so because I think that he, as a human being, deserves the same respect that I expect from him…..I believe that we should “do unto others” ….that is what I comply to….that is what I live. I was the one who was wrong, I had committed the acts….not him.

I have said above, re-read it to make sure, that at times it was just the company I kept…it was just the situations I put myself in…it was resistance to be like everyone else….it was only these things – no criminal act – that brought me face to face with the law; not fair maybe…

….but as a human hanging to this ball that is spinning through space…I have to accept that if I refuse to play by the majorities rules…until I prove myself to be worthy of enough respect to be left alone….that I have to explain myself to those that do not understand my need to be different….no crime on either side of that coin…just conversations…not fighting….profiling me has happened – but it was because I made myself fit the profile…now I do not, and can walk freely through town….shaking hands with those who had shined flashlights into my face in the past.

Soooooooooooooooo, where was I going with this….dunno….just tired today…maybe I just don’t get it…………I do not understand…..

…..

…I should probably just talk about dishrag and Steve…..

….oh yeah….because I changed my behavior, and spoke with some to help them move away from the situations we used to put ourselves in….I am alive to hold dishrag, to hold my Joy…to laugh and love with our kids….

Dishrag….and Steve…………not topics that offend…or set up opposing sides…..

…………….dishrag and Steve…..no hot topics….no religion…..random silliness and scribbling……….color between the lines…..

Maybe just write about the crack house and hooker that took me there…………maybe not……….

….dishrag………where r u………….

….maybe a honey bun…..

•December 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

How would you spend the last day of your life? You have been told “this is it, today and today only”; what would that day be like?

If it wasn’t what you did today, or at least part of the day taken by something from that list, did you really live this day at all…or just exist?

Today, I spent too much time at work (in meetings again, hence the philosophical day dreams)…but before that started I enjoyed a warm bowl of oatmeal with pecans…cooked a nice piece of salmon for lunch…drove across town and appreciated the morning sun…insert worked too long here…drove home….

In the middle of all of this, I walked out of a meeting to meet my daughter, her husband and little dishrag….I pulled back the cover of his car seat and he looked at me for a second before dozing back to where ever he had been…and I walked back inside with a smile.

After coming home, my Joy walked up behind me and pulled me close to her…something my soul always hungers for…something it craves….all I need…God I wish she knew what that means to me…

We had a bowl of rice and veggies for dinner….then a smore…….

….now I am sitting here alone writing about nothing…..

Not an eventful day, not a perfect day….but I walked out of that meeting to see little dishrag…the only other time I have ever just walked out in the middle of something was to meet my Joy when she happens by and brings me a drink, or just to say hi….so this is not my typical behavior….but it just felt right today……

So…if this was my last day, was it good enough?

Not perfect by any means….not the best day ever….but was it good enough?

I didn’t change the world…or move mountains….or save lives….was it good enough?

I woke up, felt the sun on my face and was touched by people I love with all my being…..so yeah….it was.

 

Guess I got distracted from my original question…..how would you spend the last day of your life?

My answer….just appreciating whatever it brings, taking the time to love, taking a second to say thanks to whatever you believe….maybe I would call in that day and skip the meetings….yeah, I would probably do that….maybe a honey bun…..miss those a bit….

Glad the weekend is close….need a break from meetings………..

 

 

 

….maybe just a scribble…

•December 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment

A golfer walks around the hole, looking high, looking low….then around again….looking at all angles, all directions. Then before actually performing the putt, he (me not as much, but then I ain’t a good golfer) will line up the ball with the path he has chosen….and hopes to follow it; hopes to have chosen accurately. Then acts.

I personally am more of a “feel” putter. I walk up, think I know the correct path – often way off, but mostly close….putt….make some, miss some. Many of those missed, once I walk around the hole I see why it was missed; the difference in perspective revealing the actions I should have taken, the path I should have chosen…finally able to see the slope of the green, the tilt of the land.

I sat in meetings all day and considered perspective….not because it had anything to do with the meetings, but as a diversion at first – then a full blown analysis of what perspective means in my life…and what I wish could be wrapped for Christmas as a gift…..

I was very much older than I wanted to be when I finally understood what “walk in my shoes” meant….empathy….”seeing it from my point of view”…..perspective….etc. They all meant to see it from a different angle, with open eyes; more so with open mind, open soul. To be shed of paradigm and let the knowledge gained from “living” a different view point allow you to be free and unbiased….released from one perspective, allowed to roam through the possibilities.

Now, gonna get real for a second….by no stretch of the imagination am I always able to see all angles….often I don’t really give a shit about other perspectives; at first. Again, I am a “feel” putter; I often act without walking around the hole, without charting a path to follow….so I step up and do something (say something), react to something, get my feelings hurt, hurt other’s feelings…and on and on….missing. Then I walk around the situation, and give it time while opening myself up to possibilities, and see.

……..my, ours and some of your kids frustrate me…..they make choices that I think is the stupidest thing in the freaking universe. I react, I cry, I yell….then I take a step back, a deep breath and pick up at least one of their shoes and put it on. Not always comfortable to look at myself in that shoe, not always enlightening either, but sometimes I get it.

They want this, they want that…then the things they don’t want, or why we perceive that they don’t want it…..

…..they still need our help at times….I remember how that felt.

…..they don’t want our help at times and want to forge their own way, do things their own way….I remember how that felt.

…..they are not me, nor am I them….I can also remember how that feels.

…….my, our and some of your siblings frustrate me….they make choices that I am certain I would never make, choose paths that I would never consider….

They want this, they want that…then the things they don’t want, or why we perceive that they don’t want it…..

…..they are not me, nor am I them….I can also remember how that feels.

In those shoes….from the other side of the hole…I can see….

….they are not me, nor am I them…..

….I try to remember how that feels.

 

Maybe tomorrow I should just pay attention in the meetings…………..but today, I sat thinking, wishing that I could wrap up a magic pair of shoes that would allow everyone in my life (a pair for me too) to gain perspective. To move freely around the cup and not see it as a chore or unwanted noise…but as a gift to ourselves…..so that if on the first putt we miss, we slow down before we miss again…so we understand.

 

Yep…………….gonna have to pay more attention tomorrow………after reading this dribble, maybe I just need a nap. But I took a stupid challenge to write something down every day for a week……… box checked.

more adventures…with dishrag and Steve

•December 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I wonder what dishrag dreams of; what makes him smile or laugh out loud at just three weeks old? He hasn’t had enough of this life to be replaying memories or touching on his favorite moments…so does he dream of a past life – one where his days were filled with happiness? Does he know the secrets about his future, too soon to be forgotten; does he live his tomorrows behind closed eyelids and laugh with friends or with his children?

Does he just have gas and it tickles his ribs in was that cause laughter? Maybe (kinda smelled that way)….but I don’t choose to view life as filled with gas bubbles….I would rather entertain a magical world filled with mystery and hope….laughter that comes from today, from yesterday…from tomorrows that we have not yet lived or experienced.

I sit here now, knowing too much to truly believe in a magical world (not completely true – I found my Joy)…..well, arrogant enough to think I know too much….to believe in elves and fairies, in ghosts or spirits….in most anything I cannot touch…but just holding that little boy reminds me that I don’t know everything…watching his eyes move behind his eyelids, following something that gives him enough pleasure to smile – then to laugh out loud….to pass that smile from his tiny lips to mine…to force me to forget the day for a second, to realize that I just do not understand the world……………..

……………..to remind me that the world is an amazing place. That as shitty as the days can be, as long as the cold winter nights are…there is still so much wonder to experience. So much to see, to hear, to know…..so much more.

I had forgotten holding my child, dishrag’s mother, and feeling the same amazement.

I had forgotten how small in the universe I am….smaller than any imaginable particle….how insignificant the problems that I think will crush me truly are…….

I wonder what else I have forgotten with age? What secrets did I hold behind closed eyelids as my mother held me? What wonder passed behind them in the darkness between morning and night….in the naps between birth and my first steps….even now, what do I know as I sleep that my reality will not let me accept or my “wisdom” will not let me comprehend?

Dunno……….maybe I just feel this way today cause I am a year removed from my last honey bun, my last breakfast filled with bacon, eggs and biscuits….because 12 months ago today, I got rebooted and have spent the last year questioning so much, focused on different things…..loving harder, living larger, breathing slower…..with what I hope is new understanding that came from a deeper glimpse at my mortality than most are blessed to taste, and survive.

Maybe it is just a flashback to some of the chemicals I ingested in an effort to find myself for all the years before that….

……….maybe it is just a gift from God…..

Whatever I believe, or you believe…….looking forward to more adventures…with dishrag and Steve.

 

 

 

Dishrag and Steve….the adventure begins….

•November 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Thanksgiving 2014……this time last year, I was the proud owner of heart stints for about a week – and only 8 days away from quadruple bypass….

So….what do I have to be thankful for……………everything. I have been blessed. I will state again that I don’t feel that I deserve the life I am given, but I have spent the last year trying to be better – trying to live deeper, more completely….trying.

I have caught myself once or twice wrapped back up into the things that do not matter; the “trap”pings of our day to day rituals…..but then I get up and walk outside, tilt my head back, close my eyes and let the day wash over me for a few seconds. I have learned that I don’t have to be everywhere early, and I don’t have to stay anywhere late…..unless it is to talk with a friend, or share an extra minute (or twenty) with my Joy. I don’t have to always be in control….but I do have to give thanks everyday by being mindful of the world around me….by simply appreciating the gifts; the life I have been allowed to continue.

Today I am 13 days from the birth of our grandson…..Paxton “dishrag” White….who I spent today photographing…holding…I shared a Thanksgiving dinner with my brother, with Tammy, my father and mother in law, my daughter and son in law….little dishrag….Courtney and John Michael, our adopted children….my Joy, my everything….

….thankful for every second, every bite of corn, every piece of pie….every beat of my heart, breath in my lungs….everything.

I am off to give thanks for this day now…and to plan the next adventure with dishrag…………the continuing adventures of dishrag and Steve……

Just for clarity…………..Joy is grandma….I am Steve – told them no to pawpaw or grandpa or any other paw….just Steve….gonna mess up the little one when he learns my name is Mike…but life is not always what we want or plan….but it is still wonderful, and he will adjust…..

……since it will not totally be my fault, his mom (my bug) said she can name him Paxton or whatever she wants……….said she would call him dishrag if she wanted….and now I think I will….for as long as I am blessed to feel the wind on my face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the birthday wishes…sorry it is seven days late…

•September 4, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I am sitting at the table, something I rarely do, eating oatmeal (not as rare any more); but today, I put real butter in it. Well, almost real. It is no salt butter – so it is not the same, but a treat I allow myself only once a month or so.

Oh and let’s be very clear that it is not instant oatmeal. If it were some sweet flavored oatmeal with little pieces of dried fruit, I would be getting most of the sodium I am allowed to have in my diet for the day – and something with flavor. No sir, it even says old fashioned oats on the box; almost straight from the freaking field to this bowl of sticky…well, almost said goodness, but it ain’t really that good….pile of sustenance.

Sustenance…

1

a
:  means of support, maintenance, or subsistence : 
living

b
: 
food, provisions; also
: 
nourishment

2

a
:  the act of
sustaining
:  the state of being
sustained

b
:  a supplying or being supplied with the necessaries of life

3

:  something that gives support, endurance, or strength

So many thoughts on that single word this year.

I went from being a carnivore to counting each grain of salt, each gram of fat…understanding how much cholesterol is in a single piece of pecan pie…knowing the calories that come from a single taste of chocolate, the amount of caffeine that exists in a half a can of diet Pepsi…

I now understand the real price of a double cheeseburger vs a small piece of baked fish; not the monetary difference, fish can be more expensive (and let’s be real , taste not nearly as good) but like they say, you can’t take all the money with you….and I don’t want to leave it for someone else to spend for sure….no, the real price…the feeling of laying in our magnificent bed and have it pull you into its memory foam greatness – caressing you…………..only to learn that where they cracked your chest open to clean out 51 years of cheeseburgers, and pizza, and hotdogs……and pecan pie with ice cream…and beer….and lovely salt infused butter…real freaking awesomely amazing butter….used to fry some thick sliced bologna….

Where was I….oh yeah…the inability to get out of my own bed and crying, because they had to cut me open and my chest is screaming to be still…our bed…and crying because my Joy has to struggle to just help me turn over enough so that I can get up because I couldn’t…..because I now knew what quadruple bypass really meant.

I have been truly blessed to learn that food is not life. It is required…and some things are (were) freaking awesome as they pass across my tongue…but it is not life. It is one tiny piece of sustenance.

That food gives me the ability to walk at least two miles every day, four miles most days….from my front door, past where I grew up – around the curve where my drunk ass parked my dad’s truck in a ditch and walked home – and back home is exactly four miles. My road is exactly one mile from start to finish….exact miles from my front door to measure the miles I travel back from a life that almost killed me to one where I am provided for…where I have what I need…where I have always had what I need and at times ignored it. Long story about how we ended up in this house just over a year ago…can’t say for sure that I am here so that it would be easy to measure the miles back to health…but I never really believed in coincidences either….so I have been given what I need. The necessities of my life, of this time in my life. I have been provided for….

I am being sustained for some reason. Given the endurance and strength to keep fighting, to keep moving…..

Joy says grace. I say I don’t deserve anything, I am not always a good person, have been a pretty shitty person at times. She says it is not something your earn….not sure I get that, I struggle to understand something that simple I guess….but I have learned to appreciate the simplest of things – more so that I ever did.

I watch the sun rise over the trees while plodding along the road trying to keep my body from building up sludge and see the possibilities in the day….I watch the grass grow, knowing I am going to just have to cut it down to keep the neighbors off my back; cherishing the thought that I can be there in that moment to do just that…I sit watching Joy sew and know that she was put here for me, so that we can care for each other – she too is a part of my sustenance….

On my birthday last week – seven days ago was the official date (and thank you to all who wished me a happy birthday) – I sat watching an ultrasound with my daughter (her ultrasound – not some random ultrasound) and was face to face with Paxton – 4d ultrasounds – wow….what a world we live in… who will be our first grandchild, grandson. I almost missed that day…I almost missed everything…

52 years and seven days ago, our father brought forth onto this continent…..sorry….52 years ago I was unleashed on this earth.

…….I haven’t written because I, to be honest, have been overwhelmed with new feelings…the tiniest of things seem so big to me now. I can smile and embrace things that once made me uncomfortable, I can appreciate things now that I took for granted….even this bowl of oatmeal….I also put a small handful of pecans in it….not too much saturated fat, so they are not the worst thing for me….

Enough….just wanted to say thanks for the birthday wishes….wanted to say thanks in so many ways….but…..always a but in life….or a butt….or an ass…..or me……

….I woke up this morning…too early is what I used to say, and what I am sure most would say about 3 o clock in the morning on a Thursday….

…I woke up….another day I have been blessed….that I will have the necessities….or at least what I need for this day, for my life….for my purpose….another day I am being unleashed on this world for some reason…..another birthday…..every day is that to me now.

Off to watch the sunrise……………..this world is a wonderful place.

Thanks for the birthday wishes…sorry it is seven days late…

•September 4, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I am sitting at the table, something I rarely do, eating oatmeal (not as rare any more); but today, I put real butter in it. Well, almost real. It is no salt butter – so it is not the same, but a treat I allow myself only once a month or so.

Oh and let’s be very clear that it is not instant oatmeal. If it were some sweet flavored oatmeal with little pieces of dried fruit, I would be getting most of the sodium I am allowed to have in my diet for the day – and something with flavor. No sir, it even says old fashioned oats on the box; almost straight from the freaking field to this bowl of sticky…well, almost said goodness, but it ain’t really that good….pile of sustenance.

Sustenance…

1

a
:  means of support, maintenance, or subsistence : 

Lions and Tigers and…..well, then there is Downtown Nissan

•March 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Bored in a hotel in MIichigan waiting for my wife to finish work…so we can enjoy the 20 degree weather.  I have been needing to let this out……….ranting more than anything.

We had been casually looking online at cars for a few weeks.

Advertisement said 16,800 for a new Nissan Sentra from Action Nissan of Nashville; my wife said that since I am loyal to the Nissan brand we should go get it. Having bought my truck from just such an ad, and having the price reconfirmed by email; I said ok. Off we go on a mid-week day to our trusted friends at Action to buy the car.

We meet Stuart (a likeable enough salesman) who gets the keys for the test drive. My wife says she really likes the car, so we say – with no reservations at this point – we want it. “let’s go fill out the papers”.

Having been to Action Nissan less than two years earlier to buy my Titan, I never hesitated to walk in and sit down. You may not understand what a large deal this was for me. Let me see if I can explain that for you.

Circle back to 1996 and Matthews Nissan (at that time on Riverside Drive). I wanted to purchase a new Pathfinder. The two wheel drive version didn’t come with a sunroof but I was told they could get the factory version for installed for me. Naïve about the dealer, I said ok.

Few days later I go inside and get the keys, walk out to the Pathfinder, notice several of the salesman casting sideways glances at me….which gets me curious. I start the Pathfinder, look in the rear view, then up. Up to find some shoddy sunroof installed, the liner flapping in time with my breath and the plastic pieces used to hold it in place cracked.

Well, for a little bit of brevity, after I was threatened with the Matthews Nissan lawyers because I refused to accept it; and blamed for telling them I wanted something they could have said no to…I got a new Pathfinder without a sunroof.

Now l understand that managers come and go…so we went to the new Matthews Nissan outside of Clarksville to look at an Xterra for my wife a little over two years ago. At the time, we weren’t really looking just killing time, but she liked it so we talked to them – me thinking it was a bad idea the whole time. Well, after they tried to do the let’s play with you a while dance; we left. Then they called and called and called until she finally got the price she was willing to pay. It was supposed to be delivered the next day until they agsin called and said it was going to be 500 dollars more.

After all of the bullshit, the car salesman/manger dance – the phone calls – the hassle, we told them to drive the Xterra up their ass. It wasn’t that we couldn’t afford the 500 dollars, but once you agree to a price, that is the price – anything after that is an attempt to extort more from you. Sorry, how my mind works. I have heard nothing other than experiences like that from the place so unless they give me a free car, I will never again grace the place with my appearance.

Due to the way we were treated and hassled, we notified the Better Business Bureau – of which they have no record, guess they have their own agenda; Nissan was also notified – zero response from them either. Still waiting for the promised call….

So now to visit one with Action Nissan. BLAH, BLAH, daughter wrecks car…we need a new car, have a boat to pull….so the Titan….

Again, price was sent to us, we walked in and sat down with Jerry. I immediately warned him that I have zero tolerance for the dance, the game….he said he understood. We signed all of the papers in less than an hour and were waiting on the truck when he comes to get us.

“I want you to see this.”

He takes us out to the garage where they are washing it before we go and points to hail damage that we couldn’t see until it was wet. I am like oh no, here we go.

Jerry goes inside, talks to the manager, two days later I take it back they fix the hail damage and give me a rental….most wonderful car buying experience of my life. 10 on a scale of 10…across the board.

Now back to Action Nissan visit 2, and Stuart. Poor Stuart brought some papers from the manager (he too had been warned about the dance, the games) that had the price at 19,000 and some change for a 2013 Nissan Sentra, the exact VIN that we had been told was 16, 800.

He is explaining this to my wife. I was struck dumb for a few minutes, processing the bullshit he was telling her about this option, that option, we don’t qualify for the new graduate discount that had to be applied to get this car….BS, BS,…then…he stops when I say hold on a second….

After my short rant and explaining checkbook math to him – he looks me in the eye and then turns to my wife and tells us both he is leaving Action soon; that the place is under new management and this is a bait and switch. He is no happier than us that he had to try this tactic to make more on the car.

I tell him thanks, we are leaving. He pleads for one more chance – I say no, my wife with a much kinder heart and more belief in car salesmen than I will ever again possess says ok. So here goes Stuart only to return with some red faced manager who again tries to spin his version of reality to us. He even points to the disclaimer on the bottom of the add to which I reply “so, this disclaimer makes it ok for you to try and fuck us?”. Well, Mr. manager took offense to this…and to make this a shorter story – I walked out, he followed….I again told him that unless the car was 16,800 we were gone, he said leave…so we did.

Few minutes later Stuart is calling my wife to apologize, when my phone rings and Mr. manager is trying again to explain how that trying to make sex to me is an acceptable practice as long as there is a disclaimer. Well, the only person who I was going to allow to screw me on that night was in the truck riding home with me.

I tried in my best angry voice to tell him that we are engineers and the math he was using would never add up to us buying anything from Action again. I had even been taking my truck all the way back to Action for service – that is how impressed I had been until this visit….I had not let anyone work on anything I had owned for over 30 years. Wow Mr. manager….hope your time there is short lived.

 

So…..Carmax….wife found a Sentra with 5K miles…on the way bank tells us priced too high…we are going to at least chat with them out by Rivergate – never in Clarksville again, so….walk in….they say the guy will be with us…wait…wait…wait long enough to find a brand new Sentra with more options for less on the iphone….tell them thanks….shoulda not made us wait so long – last visit there now.

Downtown Nissan…..

We were met at the door, quickly taken by Matt to drive first an Altima (it was 30 degrees but he at least faked that it didn’t matter), then to price two different Sentra models.

I strongly cautioned Matt that I had no time for the car dance and relayed the Action Nissan story to him…and begged that he not push us to that point. Three months from quadruple bypass, I couldn’t take another long game of lets fuck the car buyer.

We had seen the price online…they brought out papers that showed it at 400 dollars more….for tinting. We said take it off, didn’t have to come off the car, but had to come off the sheet…the second car was more, asked them to sell it to me for the lower cost….

Enter Mr. Billy the manager…super nice guy…and not what I expected. I had already pushed the chair back from the table in preparation to walk out of Downtown Nissan and add them to my list of places to never again visit. But he sat down, showed me why he could not sell the car to me for the price….and then split the difference and removed the tint.

We bought the car that night.  My seventh Nissan.  it shouldnt be this way….I should be able to walk into any NIssan Dealer and get the same service, treatment…well, I think anyway…………still waiting for that call…………

Downtown Nissan – 10 out of 10 in our book.

The reality is that we are old, and may never buy more cars….but I am here to tell all my friends, my family….strangers…you….that if you need a new or used car….especially a Nissan….go to Downtown Nissan.

From what I understand, the guy at Action who was honest with us (Stuart) is now working there and between he and Matt…well, and Billy….I don’t think they would do you wrong…I hope not anyway just in case we do need another vehicle.

at least it ain’t yellow

•March 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

It is snowing in Midland Michigan. From the piles of snow that border the hotel parking lot, it must not be unusual at the end of March. I really don’t know.

Two days ago we had thirty fish in the live well, short sleeves on, and were both enjoying the good ole Tennessee sunshine. Two days, two flights, and a two hour drive from Detroit; two days from a world I understand, two days from our bed…two days from our life so that she can maintain her job. By the end of the week, I may go insane staring at the black speckled snow piles while thinking about the slow moving river that flows a few hundred yards from where I grew up.

There is a river not far from where she is today. But I saw that is was covered in most places by ice, or ice floes. I now know how to spell “floe” because some dude was on the news being rescued after taking his atv out on ice which broke loose and became a floe. Almost floe(d) away into some Great Lake in 12 degree weather. Not sure if they are floes on the rivers and the lakes (is there some difference depending on the body of water?), but you can walk on the water here. Not in a religious experience kind of way, but in a too cold to breathe kind of way.

We saw fishing shacks on the ice that bordered the interstate. Ice and snow, snow and ice…flat land, little trees, dirty snow…and more dirty snow. I struggled to distinguish the line between land and ice, and between kid’s playhouses and fishing shacks. Did I mention ice…and snow…dirty snow. It even covers the 10-15 golf courses that we passed; bet they don’t have a long season to use them….maybe if they had hills a sled enterprise could supplement their finances…but alas, flat land for miles, and miles. And what is up with the place down the road that makes “snow machines” to make more snow?!?!?

The people seem really nice here. Except (I am sure) the ones who handed me the 300 dollars I won at a Casino this morning….they probably didn’t like my southern accent as I smiled and said thank you. I know that didn’t break them, but the building is not so nice because they like to give money away. It only took about 10 minutes…and then I walked away….was a good feeling. Then I almost slipped on some ice…and almost fell in a pile of dirty snow.

Never imagined as many trailers as I have passed today; not sure why it surprised me….just has. All of the homes seem a lot smaller, the lots even more so….but campers are everywhere! Under tarps covered with dirty snow and ice that I imagine have owners impatiently waiting for some thaw that is inevitable…not today, but sometime before August I am sure. Maybe they can come to a state park in Tennessee and enjoy above single digit wind chills in March?

Anyway….three more days….staring out the window….past the piles of dirty snow to the mall covered with more piles of dirty snow…and ice….and snow…

Think I will go walk on the treadmill of the hotel. I checked it out earlier and it faces a wall covered in some ugly wallpaper….but at least I can’t see how cold it is outside. Maybe I can floe away listening to some awesome elevator music playing on the sound system as I try to outrun the floes.

To be honest it really seems like a pretty nice place. And with the right opportunities, I could adjust to fishing with a two foot pole while sucking down beers in some heated fishing shack…but my heart will always be riding the Cumberland River in Tennessee.

Off to walk………

Things to write about, page…dunno…

•January 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I guess it was a valid question, simple words; “what are you doing?” I mean it is not every day that I order anything off line, nor do I usually take those objects and place them in large manila envelopes and set them in the closet.

“I am….well, read this and maybe it will explain.”

I pulled the envelope back out, opened it and handed her the handwritten letter.

“What is this? I still don’t understand.”

I pointed to the piece of paper and told her to read it then I left the room after picking up four more empty envelopes.

I could hear her unfolding the page as I walked down the hall toward the basement.

….

Hi.

We have never met. Unfortunately, we will only do so in the stories that people will tell you about me; or in the things I have written if you happen across them, or maybe only in this letter (and the other four I have for you). I wish it could be different, but that is not the way life happens, and that is ok. You have a long time to learn this for yourself.

Inside this envelope you will find a copy of my favorite movie. It is not necessarily the greatest movie by the standards of my time, nor do I expect it to become your favorite (though I hope this short connection will make it a possibility). It may come on every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I still wanted this for you.

Now, why would a virtual stranger want you to own this? Why is this here for you?

Because watching this reminded me again and again that our simple lives are not meaningless. That overwhelming as life can be, and as uneventful as most days feel…we do touch others with our actions. Even the simplest acts of kindness or compassion for the lowest of beasts affects change. The choices we make, the smiles we share; even just opening a door for someone may have profound and lasting effects on this universe. Our lives are not insignificant despite the fact that we are here only seconds…so few are our days. And it also helped me to see these simple movements in others, in their random kindness or empathy, and be able to fully appreciate them.

This film also gave me moments where I saw the magic of falling in love; unexpected and sudden. Completely and without reservation in spite of all the people and forces that do their best to push in other directions. The wonder of it all, the beauty of finding “her” or “him” and just knowing that it is the most real thing you have or will ever experience. The trust and love (I pray you find it too…this I wish most for you) that comes in that relationship, where you sacrifice yourself and your world for the other person. Selfless and devoted love. The magic I found with your grandmother, my wife. Man, she was everything to me.

It depicts evil that people are capable of carrying out, and that they can change. That moments occur and choices get made that form us all…but we can, if we choose, show others what they are missing and help them (and ourselves) become more and better humans. We may travel a path that leads us to think we have no choices…but even the worst of us can find ways to benefit our fellow beings…even if it is only a handful of dollars in a basket (watch the movie).

Anyway…I wish I could sit with you on a cool fall evening…and with your mother and grandmother…sharing popcorn and laughs, and tears…and love…watching this together as we did for so many wonderful years.

Time is just too fucking short (yeah, I cussed a bit more than most). Too short, but I wish for you the dream of this film. That it is more than the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” to you too…that you find in it the same gift that I did. If not…I at least hope you watch it with your mom…she would like that.

I will pray you lay looking at the last day of your life and think that yours too was a wonderful life, no matter the mistakes you think you made. I know that mine has been. I was blessed to have met your mother, and to have loved your grandmother…and to have the chance to leave this to you. Blessed.

Always thought you might have a cool name for me, or mispronounce it as your mother did….but I will sign this simply….

Grandpa.

I was sealing the last envelope and numbering it when she made it downstairs. She quietly handed me the letter and hugged me.

“Why?”

“Because the reality is that we never know when our last day is, and though there is no kid on the horizon, I wanted to leave something. I am doing this for my kid, then I plan to make them for yours…would you like to do this with me?”

She looked at me with tears in her eyes.

“Is there something you are not telling me?”

“No. Just some things I haven’t told you yet.”

I took her hand and walked her toward the couch. She was now crying out loud.

I think she had known all along.

 

Day number….way too many….at home. The walls are closing in between bouts of fatigue and I am going CRAZY. Not used to being helpless and I think it is something that I do not like at all. Next I may write about watching my toe nails growing. That would probably be better than looking at the food channel with the knowledge that I can never eat anything good again….right now I would attack a small country for a monster rib eye steak!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just kidding (mostly). Ok. Sorry, I know you didn’t get an invitation to my pity party so I will shut it down….life is truly wonderful. And I have been really blessed to type at all.

…..and this cup….that is all I need…

•January 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I don’t know how to tell her what is really bothering me; she asks what is wrong, so I know she senses something has changed in me. But, I cannot find a way to express the things I am seeing, the things I am feeling.

From the second I woke in ICU after the bypass, the world was different. The first thing I saw was the young man who would care for me the next few hours, then I saw a much older man walking in the door just as a nurse was leaving. I still had the breathing tube in my throat and couldn’t speak; not that the drugs still flowing through me would have allowed coherent words to exit my mouth. I had no idea if he was a doctor, a surgeon or what he was doing there.

Like I said, the world is different. I seem to be hanging between here and somewhere. My “dreams” are, fitful; filled with me dead or dying – fighting to wake, fighting to stop dreaming of dreams, fighting to say “I am alive”. I still feel awake when I doze off, I find myself blinded by such immeasurable brightness in the first few seconds before I sleep that I silently scream for it to dim.

Now we have been home a couple of weeks. I try to be ok, to sit on the couch with my wife and go on with the routine. I try my best to imagine life as it was, as she tells me it will be. I really want to believe her when she says it will be ok. I promise I do.

But, sitting on the couch across from us is that older man. Or when we go to the doctor twice a week to have blood drawn, he is in the back seat. If I wake in the night, which is all too often, he is sitting in the chair by our bedroom window. As I walk the treadmill with the TV blaring to try and forget that he exists, I cannot. He stands against the wall. Not talking, expressionless, just looking at me.

It is only when I fall into a-fib, when my heartbeat becomes irregular or it starts racing that he shows any movement or change in his demeanor. Then he immediately comes to my side, puts his hand on me, and smiles.

The first time it happened was in the hospital. The nurses came in to ask me if I was ok. I wondered why, then they told me that my heart monitor was showing a-fib and wanted to know if I felt anything different. How was I supposed to answer that? I turned toward the man, I assume they thought I was looking out the window because everyone is unaware of him (I had asked my wife who he was and she looked puzzled and asked me who I was talking about; I dropped it), to find him touching me…smiling. I looked back at them and said I guess I am ok. Then it stopped. The fluttering, the racing; all stopped.

It always stops with that smile.

So how do I answer her? How do I tell her that what she is sensing is me losing my mind? How do I let her know that this man – I am hoping now that he is my guardian due to the benevolence of his beautiful smile, not the reaper waiting for the prize that was stolen by the surgery – is watching us? How do I say “hey, I am fine, but I am so lost between here and somewhere that the lines are blurred, I cannot separate the dreams from reality”? How do I have that conversation in a rational way?

Maybe I ceased to exist that day and all of this is not real? I am not real? Not alive?

I don’t know how to answer her, I don’t know how to answer anyone.

 

Watching fishing shows all day ’cause I cannot go fishing. The can of A&W cream soda beside me is crackling as it releases carbonation. My feet are cold, I am always cold now. I feel like I should call the doctor and beg them to let me go back to work even though they tell me I should take the full 12 weeks to make sure I am ok…they suggest I at least wait till I see the cardiologist in a few weeks – that will be less than 8 weeks but I cannot bear longer. My feet are cold…oh, said that. I am bored today. Up to twenty minutes on the treadmill….who cares…ME… I can drive now, but it hurts me a lot….a whole lot….and the cold zaps me to be outside. Bored…so I have resorted to writing BS stories that suck (see above) to keep me from cleaning the garage – like I could pick up more than the clothes it would take to keep me warm enough to be in the garage in the first place….much less move a box. Joy gave me a book for Christmas – 642 things to write about…

One of them….what you would run out of the house with if your house caught on fire….first of all, right now it would be a quick walk at best, and for certain, I would grab Joy to go with me. There is nothing on this earth that means more to me than her. I can take more pics, get more clothes, work and get more furniture (the insurance might help) and someone would probably feed us…so the only irreplaceable thing that exists in my life, in my world, and in this house, is my Joy. She has taught me to be a better me, for us. She has encouraged me to be me – though that guy is a bit of a pain at times. She loves me and has helped me to understand what love is….what is should have always been in my life. Yeah, I would definitely grab my Joy….and maybe a pair of pants.

And this thermos…and that is all I need….

Husbands, appraisals and scars…oh my…

•January 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Wow…let’s see…Jan, Feb…then March. We put our house up for sell and started looking for a house that we had not shared with anyone, for any reason, so that we could have an environment that needed no exorcism of either of our pasts. Those rituals are too painful and ineffective to leave all involved feeling clean…so…we immediately found one in Palmyra – they rejected our offer; thankfully – we realized that we need fast internet and downloadable movie access to survive!

April, May – no offers on our house, actually, no one even looking at our house. We decided to look in the Greenland Farm area. Found a great house backing up to the river bottoms and made an offer in less than an hour. Home inspection, found a couple little things….waited on the appraisal….during that time, bought some really cool furniture that would fit in it perfectly. Appraisal came back – 20 thousand dollars under what we had offered – the sellers said no freaking way. Lesson one in appraisals in the Greenland Farm area.

Looked more in that area…found another house…furniture would still fit and look good….above ground pool, nice deck (purple upstairs, but paint can hide that)….appraisal before home inspection cause we are already a thousand down from the first house….second lesson in Greenland Farm area; after offering less than one thousand dollars over what they paid for it seven (7, seven…did I say seven) years earlier…the appraisal comes in 27 thousand less than the offer….again, the owners (who had packed and began emptying the house – (cause 7 years earlier it had been worth this much) said no freaking way and began the process of unpacking.

We were burnt out, no offers on our house, still no one looking at it…and we are now fifteen hundred dollars in the red.

I looked on line and found one in Cumberland Heights on the bluff. Asked Joy if she wanted to go look. She (echoing my thoughts) said no way….but we drove by anyway. Called the realtor, got a showing…less than two miles from the other two houses…and then sat with her and talked about what would happen with the appraisal. She felt the house was priced right – but again, we were burnt and going broke quickly….she felt so strongly about it that she offered to pay for the appraisal…..

I can only say that I was not surprised when it came in sixteen thousand dollars less than what we had offered….not shocked or in disbelief….accepting of the fact is all I can say. Then, the owner wanted out and accepted the 16K less….so here we live….well, painted it all, removed all the smoke infested carpets and put down laminate floors – added a Mimi Fence (oh yeah, back surgery for our pup this year)….then here we live. The furniture was more perfect for this place than any of the others – we had it delivered to the old house after the last appraisal in Greenland Farms fell through and had been climbing over it all…..and had to move it with the help of some great friends…..but it feels so much like “us”.

Then June….house still not sold…two house payments and my daughter says she is getting married to some boy…some boy I may have seen once. Some boy in the army who I didn’t even know….and cared not to know…he comes by to ask…I get hammered on two bottles of wine, not looking toward him but instead at my Joy as he explains that if I say no they are getting married anyway…so it was clear where we both stood on this one….they married anyway. She is happy so far, and he doesn’t seem like a total waste (he does have a job)….but she was my bug, so I guess I am still struggling with it a bit…but I am coming around.

July…my Joy has some surgery. My daughter is still married…Joy’s youngest is living in the basement…house still not sold…at least our view of the fireworks is amazing – I hope they again shoot them from the lot beside the Catfish House so we can sit in the backyard – it was perfect.

August…time to rent the house out…….but it goes to October before that happens….now finally only one house payment!!!

Had a great Halloween with tombstones and bodies and lots of pumpkins and kids and….well, it was great.

November…shit…stints….then a perfect Thanksgiving with family and friends at our house – fried turkey (which I barely ate cause of the stints), beer, wine and good food – good times…..

December….I learned that it is extremely painful how they remove the fried turkey….and bacon, and cheeseburgers and rib eye steaks…and cheesecake….and all the years of living life in the fast lane without any consideration of the long term implications….I really think the most painful thing was that my Joy brought me a honey bun as I lay in intensive care before the bypass (and it was amazing to savor its last seconds on this earth) and I recognized it as my last…forever gone from any menu…guess technically it is still on Johnny’s menu (with ice cream, man…), but I can never order it again…well, I could but like I said IT IS EXTREMLY PAINFUL, THE METHOD OF REMOVING HONEYBUNS AND BACON….mmmm….Bacon….grilled with some brown sugar….and….STOP!!!! Oatmeal is way better….and grilled fish…and ….mmmmm..bacon…STOP IT!!!

Anyway………….not that any of that matters today….I was able to take a lot of things with me from 2013 (including several useless appraisals)– but, very thankfully I woke up in 2014 and can walk to the kitchen to make oatmeal without bacon (think I am missing bacon…a lot)…..

My Joy and I shared tears, learned to be more patient with each other (and with others) and more accepting of how life seems to “happen”, made some new friends, shared our blessed life with family and old friends, saw the Titans through another losing season with some of those new friends….survived a year of turmoil and uncertainty at times with faith that we were going to be ok ( and we are )…my daughter gained a husband (can’t say son in law yet – too hard)…Joy’s youngest moved out to find herself and her own way; she will do well…we have a beautiful home, a beautiful life and each other….

2013 hurt us both at times, and brought us to the edge at times….but we held tight and consider ourselves truly blessed to have suffered and survived. We have more than many and for 2014 I wish that you all find the faith to know that it is going to be ok…even when that is the most difficult thing to believe….the appraisal will work out when it is supposed to, the scars will heal, and this world will give you what you need….

Happy new year to you all…………….

wired….tight….

•December 31, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday was the first visit with the surgeon since leaving the hospital. They pulled a couple stitches, asked how I was doing, gave me a thumbs up to start driving as much as my chest can handle and let me get off of two of the three hundred (exaggeration – but doesn’t feel like it) pills I have to take each day. I told the doctor that my chest was still very sore and that I had driven once – for a couple minutes around the block – but it hurt a lot. He told me that was to be expected.

On his desk he had a couple models of how they pull the sternum back together; I asked him which one he used on me. He said neither. I asked how he had pulled me back together – how was my ribcage being held closed.

“You really want to know?”

“Yes.”

Joy told him we are engineers and that we are just curious that way.

So he proceeded to describe how it happened. He basically wove stainless steel bailing wire through my ribs and around my sternum pulling it all back in place. I pictured him with a pair of rusty pliers pulling the wires tight and then twisting until the bones creaked and the wires were on the verge of breaking apart. Much like tying a bumper back on a truck to get it home after a wreck.

It is no wonder to me now why when I lay in bed it is very difficult to do the simplest of things, one of the things that has given me the greatest pleasure; to reach over and feel my Joy breathing as she sleeps. To just feel the softness of her, rising and falling under my hand…softly against her, my heart still dances in time with her breath…a slow waltz that keeps me smiling night after night in spite of the aches.

Yesterday, I also realized what the ten days in Centennial had been like for my Joy. She showed me the cafeteria (she would leave the room for 15 minutes at the most) where she ate, the path she would take to get coffee so that it wouldn’t take her long to get back…the gift shop where she picked up a get well monkey for me…where she had parked for 10 days – fighting with the truck that is too big for a parking garage, the waiting rooms for the ICU…before surgery waiting rooms………….all the places she had waited for me, to make sure that she was there the second I woke, the second she could talk to me…to tell me she loved me, so that her voice was the first I would hear over and over……ten days she spent by my side sleeping on a small and uncomfortable couch as the nurses came in to wake us again and again…and again……bringing me food when I hadn’t eaten for a couple days…loving me…loving me for whatever reason she does…loving me in spite of me…..loving me deeply.

And I also felt why that dance happens night after night as I reach over to touch her…why when I close my eyes it is her that fills my dreams (as they did long before we met)…

I saw her again as I had after the first 27 minutes we spent alone, and knew that we were meant to be together – that I was and am forever in love with her. God reminded me to appreciate her, to thank her…to not take the things that seem simple for granted…he gave me another chance to let her know that she is my Joy…my everything….

so, I guess you could say, it was a good visit…..

 

I see your stints and raise you a quadruple bypass…

•December 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I spent a lot of time between November 20th and December….I cannot remember the exact date that I stopped by the emergency room….doesn’t matter…thinking about why I had been fortunate enough to have found the issues with my heart without a heart attack. What purpose was there for me? Why was I blessed?

I enjoyed Thanksgiving 2013 with family and friends knowing that I now carried two stints inside of me – knowing that I had probably been days from a heart attack that would have taken it all from me. I do not usually enjoy a house full of people, but that day seemed extra special with the thought that I have some purpose, watching all the smiles and hearing laughter – living.

Then a week later, pretty sure it was December 4th….again, it doesn’t matter….we had driven to Nashville to drop off something – an hour there, ten minute stop – and what should have been an hour back home and to bed with my beautiful wife. But I was hurting and feeling a bit sick (had been hurting a bit all afternoon) so I pulled into Centennial Medical Center’s emergency room just as a precaution. I wasn’t worried, after all I had been fixed??

The next ten days were a blur for me…let’s do an arteriogram…wake up in ICU, not good….ok, we have to remove a few more blockages…what, four what; with stints??….quadruple bypass….cut open your chest, spread your ribs, pull a vein from your leg– gonna hurt a bit and be a while to heal…what????….what if I say no – my Joy “uhhhhh, that is not an option”….scared, but I still have faith in things bigger than me, ok…the worried look on my Joy’s face, the tears….what is your name? Fred Flintstone (trying to be ok with it all)…why do I have a teddy bear in bed with me??? I don’t need that shit to cough; begging for that bear, crying its name…my daughters sadness as she looks at me – scared…my brother….first forced steps, pain; God, the pain…blood, more blood; potassium low, magnesium lower…”what is a fib, will it stop?”….take this, take that…..friends come and go (not sure who all came, but thank you all)…Joy beside me, then across the room; seems like magic, but it is only me drifting in and out…more a fib….scared, terrified that it will not stop; but quiet; I cannot pee by myself, but I can be strong enough to hold it together for my Joy; my life…maybe go home tomorrow…more iv…tomorrow…tomorrow….more iv…

Now, I sleep in two hour increments that are disconnected by two to eight hours. I have always slept on my stomach – which also means my chest – so this constant feeling that someone had opened me up like they had torn an orange in two (and the very crooked scar from that act) makes it virtually impossible to get comfortable; exhaustion has become my sleeping pill….the new chair that the amazing woman I married came home with cradles me as I make baby steps toward better….and I am thankful each time I wake. So freaking thankful….

I do not know why the reality of my heart was not found at Gateway – not going to lose sleep over it, they probably spared me a massive heart attack – nor do I know why I was allowed to make it to Centennial without a heart attack….again, not going to lose sleep over it (well, technically I am losing sleep over them, not going to worry about it), what I do know is that I have again been blessed to be given another chance to gain perspective; to live.

I have been more fortunate than some. I lived a life that has been a bit unconventional at times, made wrong choices. Put myself in situations that hurt me, others, without killing myself along the way. Removed myself from drug abuse, made major life changes due to injuries that forced me in directions I would never have considered for myself and now this….another chance to start a new chapter, another day to live larger, love stronger….give more generously….

But for now…I really could use a nap…who thought that typing would become an exercise plan…I used to do an hour of step aerobics then hang out and do a Zumba class…walk three miles…but the act of just holding my arms out to type this is taking its toll on me. It will get better I can tell.

I actually shaved yesterday, for the first time in three weeks, so for those who have asked how I am – well, other than the nagging thought in the back of my head that I would kill for a double whopper (or in a funny hahaha way – a couple slices of a Blackhorse heart attack pizza) I am ok.

I have friends who love me ( I love you all ), family who loves me (mostly love you all – kidding), a wife who adores me for some reason ((( I love you Joy ))) – put that in hugs for you till I can squeeze you fo’ real, you are my everything – I am alive and still standing.

That may change before the day is out, but I refuse to live my life waiting for it to end.

So, I am ok.

 

 

……and I am here…..whatever you have planned for me…whatever purpose I was spared for…..I am here…

Thanks for….everything………

•November 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

…..another year has almost passed and I no longer care about the fact that time passes – thankful it still does. When I opened my eyes, I heard the wind chimes outside the window of our new home….saw the sun pushing its way through the blinds…felt the warmth of my love, my Joy next to me….had plenty to eat in the house….and knew that for whatever reason I am here…I have been blessed.

Tomorrow I will be with family and friends – yes, even my new son in law is welcome (he ain’t really that bad; no one was going to be good enough for my bug) – if that day allows my feet to touch the floor. I do not expect it, nor do I feel it is owed to me…but I will humbly accept that gift if it is given….… and I will try not to waste it…but I still have some living to do today…and for that I am truly thankful….

………….

“God is not done with you yet my friend.”

I looked over the shoulder of Dr. Gadiparthi toward my Joy to see her smiling as he reached out, putting his hand on my shoulder.

“He still has some things for you to do.”

Me?

….

Later Dr. Mishra walks into my hospital room to let me know that I will finally be released after four days at Gateway. He smiles reminding me that I must thank my Joy for not letting me leave two days ago and places his hand on my shoulder.

“She kept you here. You owe her for making you stay.”

Again, I look over the shoulder of a man who has allowed me more days on this earth to see my Joy smiling (this time with a slightly “yes you should” look – and I do…I love that woman so much) at me.

“God has blessed you. Something told us to check.”

Me?

….

On Monday, as I waited for a follow up visit with Dr. Jackson, a man across from me (wearing a Jesus loves you shirt and hat) went into a seizure. One second he was smiling toward me, the next his body was drawing up in unnatural postures and gestures.

He had arrived with a woman and (I later learned) her father who was barely able to walk. They had just left him to go to the back, so he was alone.

We called for the people to send a doctor; they came and stabilized him until an ambulance picked him up. I watched the lady who had brought him – she looked as though she was beaten – her hands were full with her father – then this.

I am sad to say that I do not know more of their story, but I cannot help but wonder, is there going to be a doctor looking him in the eyes to let him know that God still has work for him? Is he going to hear that his time, his purpose is not over?

When I made it to a room and the doctor arrived, I wanted to break down. I am not usually that emotional about a doctor, or most situations, but the event of the last seven days had left me a bit shaken and out of sorts.

I had told Joy that I was going to mess with him, be me and have some fun, but instead I immediately thanked him for hearing me, for ignoring the good EKG and sending me to Gateway. He looked over my paperwork from that visit and asked me to sit on the table.

He patted me on the same shoulder that had been touched by the other men. I saw my Joy smiling as the words left his mouth.

“God took care of you.”

Me?

….

I know this seems like a rambling path I am traveling…..but why me?

Why did this man ignore a good EKG and send me to the emergency room? Why did they take blood, do more EKG’s finding nothing out of the norm and still keep me? Why did Dr. Gadiparthi call for Dr. Mishra despite the fact that I had been injected with radioactive dye for an X-ray and passed a stress test? Why had I lay waiting for four hours only to be told by my Joy that I needed to stay another night and have the suggested angiogram? Why had the three blockages not already put me out of this world, why had I not died instead of just feeling “not right” enough that my Joy persuaded everyone to hear me in spite of it all???? Why am I here now with blood flowing freely through places cleared by Dr. McClure, that it fought hard to pass only days ago?????????????

Why this guy? I have been (am always) an addict, have been an abusive man, mean, cold, uncaring, a monster to a few…I have hurt too many for me to feel that I should be spared. I feel comfortable in saying that the guy across from me in the doctor’s office is a much better person than I have been….he probably has not done some of the things that haunt my shadows, the things even I still do not talk about – why hadn’t the universe saved the energy used on me for him? There is no way that people from his past (the few) would look at him as I know they do me…with disgust and contempt.

“Grace.”

This is the word that Joy keeps saying to me. To be honest, I never thought of it as more than a name…never understood it in the way she says it to me; defines it for me. Her childhood allowed her exposure to things that I know I cannot begin to understand – so she has seen and experienced grace…I cannot even say that I would know if I had…well, till she explained it to me.

Googled it….cause I wanted to write it – it is almost exactly as my Joy describes it to me.

the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings

 

unmerited….well, unless I am just being harsh on myself, those shoes fit….dunno….maybe I am going to touch something or someone in a way that leads them to do great things…maybe I am just going to block traffic at an intersection one day and save the life of a good person….maybe my story will let others see that their lives are worth living when they feel it is not so….could just be that I passed by a doorway unnoticed and should have been yanked out of here last week…hard to accept unmerited for me….just does not seem fair that it is just because….going to spend the time I have left being better so that I deserve it, even if only for me to think I deserve it.

……..maybe it has just been a long week and I cannot actually realize what has occurred around me….but I am acutely aware of the change that is occurring in me by just hearing my Joy say the word grace to me….very aware…….and the words of those three men, virtual strangers to me…..very, very aware…

………………aware that grace has always touched my life….has always held my hand despite the effort I put forth to pull it free….that I have always known grace – it is just now and then I have to have the shit kicked out of me to remind me…..

I have to get up….haven’t written in a long time and feel like I am saying nothing of value……and I need to walk a bit.

Just wanted to say I am thankful for….

….everything…..

Thankful for life, for my Joy, for family, friends, for you all….my life has been so blessed in spite of me….for our kids….the in laws they have brought into our lives….let’s see….today for the fact that I can still have one grain of salt and not go over the limit that will allow my heart to keep beating….yep…..everything…..yep, that about sums it up…everything.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

happy birthday Joy…

•September 9, 2013 • Leave a Comment

she came to me in dreams, filling me with sadness – leaving me with irreconcilable longing…fear that I would never know that feeling outside of those dreams. I would wake crying to the moon to leave me be…but hoping that she would find me, praying she was real….doubting it was possible.

She was always faceless, always silent…always the same. I would wake crying for the feel of her breasts against me, for the touch of her hands on my face…with her smell filling my soul…knowing that in any lifetime I existed, it had to be her…she defined what love is to me, she was what life meant to me, she was “the one”.

Now my nights are again filled with fantastic illusions of life or occasional nightmares brought on by irrational thoughts in my subconscious – not the dreams of her….because she no longer hides behind the moon waiting to tease me. I do not have to wait for sleep to consume me, for the darkness to let her in….that dream, that feeling; they have become my reality.

……………………….

My Joy….

If I have lived a hundred lifetimes, I know you have been my love in them all.

If this is the only chance I get, I have been truly blessed…and I will beg for my eternity to be spent with you.

If it all ends with my last breath, I will use that breath to say I have always loved you…even before I met you.

Happy birthday beautiful.

 

 

Sunday rambling……..

•September 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I don’t know how people live lives of deceit, half-truths or by even lying to themselves in efforts to justify behaviors. It seems this type of life would be less. For me, it would cause so much stress that it would flow into everything that I do, change me more dramatically than I am willing to suffer. Even a simple omission would burden me to the point that I would crumble.

Almost told some half-truths there….I do know how people do it, I do know it makes your life less and causes stress; mountains of stress. And a simple omission, a “well, you didn’t ask that specifically enough to get the whole story” omission of facts was the worst. I know this because I have been capable of it, guilty of it in my past – to the point of lying to myself, saying it was justified or they didn’t deserve the truth.

Now, I would rather hurt someone I care deeply about than to hide something. I want every relationship, no matter how small or trivial with another human being to begin with a solid foundation in case it develops to more.

….ok, I drank just enough beer and had just enough pudding shots last night to bury myself in my own head for a while. And a conversation sparked that little soliloquy. Over now….but seems my head is filled with chaotic randomness that needs out……..haven’t felt this way in a loooooooooonnnnnnnnnnggggg time.

……………..

……………………..

I have been sitting on the back porch this morning listening to the thunder, feeling the occasional rain drop reach under the porch and fall on my face, banging terribly on my guitar and feeling thankful to be able to experience it all. It has been a good morning so far….beautiful morning.

 

…………….

………………………

I gotta pee

…………….

………………………

 

The rain in spain falls mainly in spain.

…………….

……………………..

I asked the magic 8 ball a question that was troubling me. I didn’t like the answer. So now it is a less than magic pile of plastic and blue fluid. If it were really magic it would have known better. Or at least told me to ask again later.

…………….

……………………..

There are no ghosts in my house; for the record. There are ghosts in my life, in my closet that scare me much more than any spirit. They are stories and memories that haunt me in the company of old friends, in the occasional old picture that surfaces….they cause me more fear. They cause those in my life more pain and angst than any bluff dwelling spirit could.

I assume that everyone has the story or memory that is dredged up in a social setting and attributed to the wrong person, or innocently mentioned to catastrophically embarrassing results? I hope it is not just in my life…that would make me very sad.

Anyway….I have learned that I must stand and face them head on…point them out, acknowledge that “yes, it was me” in order to move past it and allow everyone to know I am not that any longer. Often it is an innocent act to bring it up, just not thinking fast enough to realize that it wasn’t me who made that salmon dip or me who passed out after throwing up in the back seat. The most unfortunate thing is for it to be intentional. To do it to spite or bring harm to others; because it doesn’t usually hurt the person you say it to or about, it hurts those around them. I have seen that happen too often in my life….that is a painful truth to discover about human nature – we (yes all of us) can be mean.

Anyway……….when you have lived the life I chose, too many of those ghosts follow you. Too many of them rear their evil heads at the wrong times and destroy an otherwise great day……makes me wish the only ghosts I knew came from some tortured past and sat reading over my shoulder. Be way easier to console those that matter.

……………

…………………..

Want pancakes…………pecan pancakes…….mmmmm……

I need to sleep…please…

•August 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I had grown up a little over a mile from this house, our new house…although it is several years old, it is our home. Since I first noticed them along the bluff I had wanted to live here, in the houses that almost have a view of the houses with a view. It seemed so peaceful, so quiet…and the place I would love to belong in; so when our offer to buy here was accepted, I was elated. I didn’t know why the lady was so willing to sell it as far below the appraisal as it had been, but thought it was our lucky day. We had tried to buy two others with the same issue (low appraisals) with no success.

My Joy loves it here. I can hear it in her voice, feel it in her smiles, see it in her eyes as she sits on the back porch and watches the hummingbirds – she has even named them and laughs as “Max” protects one of the two feeders from the smaller birds. Our room is perfect, filled with us. Our pictures along the wall remind me that this is our dream, her dream of how life should have always been….perfect….

But, there is one thing I have learned. Sleep is no longer possible in this place, at least not for me. I haven’t told her because I do not wish her to know my possible sickness, my delirium; despite the fact that I have recorded it on my phone, I do not think that it is rationally possible. Even having watched it totally sober again and again, I cannot say anything. I want her to enjoy the sleep that comes between the sun and the moon. The sleep that they do not seem to disturb.

When we first moved to this neighborhood, we never saw anyone out. It seemed that Friday was mowing day, but that chore was outsourced. Garbage was picked up, but I never saw the cans set on the curb; nor ever being returned to their place beside garage doors. She and I jokingly commented that maybe we had moved into a village of vampires or some other monsters that shunned the daylight. I even mentioned it when the day finally came and we met the neighbor who assured us that there are real people living inside the houses. She, a very nice lady, told us that school was about to start and there would be “all kinda activity going on”.

I have seen the school bus, I have seen a child or two rapidly scampering from it to the front doors and inside the houses along the street; never to come out again. I wonder to myself, do they see them too? Is it more than just me? No “all kinda activity” has happened since the buses started running.

But I am sitting here listening to the part of this house she cannot seem to know. Seeing the streets filled with them as they pass just outside of the streetlight, under the moonlight. I made the mistake of grabbing a Pepsi and sitting on the back porch early one Tuesday morning only to have thirteen of them come and rest their arms on the rail of the porch. She loves that porch, how can I tell her what happens in the night?

As I type, over my shoulder stares a young woman. I have become accustomed to her stares, I can hear her mumbling the words I type tonight. I can feel him, her husband I have learned, pacing up and down the hallway as he rants about the fact that we are living in their house. I fight myself not to look, it takes too much out of me to look. This should be our dream home, this should be where we retire; where we bring grandchildren to spoil them. Not where I dare not look over my shoulder or out the window past 11:15 at night, any night.

I took a day off from work to go to the courthouse. I wanted to learn who had owned the house, what might I be imagining; maybe I had heard some story in my recent past about this place. Had there been some atrocity inside its walls. No.

The library was no help either, but someone behind the counter directed me to a group of history buffs who she felt might know about something about the area. After contacting the number I was given, I spoke with Robert Isaak who said he would love to meet with me. I didn’t want to let my wife know, so it took me a few weeks before I could sneak off again.

Today, I met him. Today I learned about the bluffs on which I, we live. I am going to try and condense what I learned in 6 hours with this man. I am hoping that maybe it will help…if nothing else, help me be so tired that I can sleep through the ranting, through the stares…through the knowledge that outside my window they walk up and down the street, across the yard…sit on the porch….

It seems that there was a sort of commune, a religious group who believed that we should live and let live – with respect for each other’s beliefs, who had taken up residence within this general area in the late 1700’s. Their leader brought them here from somewhere in Kentucky in an effort to hide from what Robert described as religious persecution and set up a small collection of houses.

They lived here for many peaceful years, happy and productive it seems; contributing to the town and its people. They farmed, offering extra crops to the locals; they would assist in building barns or clearing land; helped with the infrastructure of that time…lived a good and selfless life.

Now how much of this is made up or embellished, I do not know, but Robert tells me that a demographic of the population thought their happiness was too “perfect” to be from God. “Too much of a good thing” was how it has been documented. So as happens again and again today, in all parts of the world, they sought to destroy that which they did not understand…what they could not accept…and these zealots burnt everything, herding the entire group off the bluff that overlooks the new marina destroying it all.

I know this will not be the end of it. I will have to know more, I have the time since I no longer can lay down without feeling them. Without knowing them.

I can hear her crying now, it seems she understands that I can feel her pain and keeps trying to stop. I can hear the rustling of her clothes as he tries to console her. I do not want to look, please keep me from looking; let it be a dream!! I want to not see the crowd that is milling outside my window, some dropping to their knees with outstretched arms to the sky, pleading for help. I just want to freaking sleep. I want to know that I am not making this up in my head….I want to know that I am ok…that tomorrow it will all have been a dream. I want for my Joy and I to just live in our own Shangri La…uninterrupted by those who would not understand our happiness…the perfect gift from this earth….

Do the children see them? Do their parents and just tune them out like bad television after a hard day in the empty jobs?

Is it just me…………..????

I just need to sleep……………please talk to them….I know you are reading over my shoulder. I just need some sleep………….please….

hey

•August 20, 2013 • 1 Comment

It has been two years since I decided to show up at the Front Page Deli instead of running, waiting for things in life to find me. I had no intention of ever talking to her outside of a group setting, there was no way it would ever be…no way. We were too different.

Now I am sitting in the living room of our new house, hoping that every creak coming from the back of the house is her getting out of bed. Hoping that it will not be long before she walks past me, half awake heading to the coffee pot…

“hey”

A simple word that fills me with such happiness. It was the first thing she said to me at the deli, the word she says each morning as she still is more asleep than awake, how she answers the phone when she is certain it is me….a word that makes my heart smile.

She tells me that it seems much longer than two years, our time together. I ask her does she mean it has been unbearable? Like two minutes under water? Like a bad day at work – lasting forever? But I know exactly what she means…it feels comfortable, right; as though we have had lifetimes to learn each other and feel a sense of belonging. It is knowing that she will come in to this room, say “hey” and it will be filled with love, unquestionable love and that predictable nature of us brings safety. Knowing that she may jump on the couch immediately after and pull me to her…to our room…where spontaneity will replace it with comfortable trust, passion. It is as though we know each other…are each other.

Our dating lasted..well, less than two months. It wasn’t two impetuous teenagers fighting against their parents, or leading a shotgun down the aisle; we were too old to get lost in a lust filled desire to just be together. I cannot describe to you the feeling that came to me (to us). Saying it was living life with an unquenched thirst that nothing could satisfy, parched, dry and on the verge of death only to find a single drop of liquid that filled you completely…made you whole….erased the burning sun and filled the space with a cool breeze might come close…not really. Probably closer to spending a long day working in the sun, beat down, taking a shower and climbing between clean sheets….having them hold you against the day, easing the burdens…no….not enough either.

Knew I could not find the words. It doesn’t matter. I belong here. I do not question that, and that is new to me. Fifty (almost plus one) and I finally feel that I am sitting in a place I belong with the person I have searched for since my first breath. Finally found the soul that called to me in my sleep, cried for me in fitful dreams. I know now why my life worked out how it did, why relationships were fleeting or shallow.

I was made for her.

Hey….

•August 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

It has been two years since I decided to show up at the Front Page Deli instead of running, waiting for things in life to find me. I had no intention of ever talking to her outside of a group setting, there was no way it would ever be…no way. We were too different.

Now I am sitting in the living room of our new house, hoping that every creak coming from the back of the house is her getting out of bed. Hoping that it will not be long before she walks past me, half awake heading to the coffee pot…

“hey”

A simple word that fills me with such happiness. It was the first thing she said to me at the deli, the word she says each morning as she still is more asleep than awake, how she answers the phone when she is certain it is me….a word that makes my heart smile.

She tells me that it seems much longer than two years, our time together. I ask her does she mean it has been unbearable? Like two minutes under water? Like a bad day at work – lasting forever? But I know exactly what she means…it feels comfortable, right; as though we have had lifetimes to learn each other and feel a sense of belonging. It is knowing that she will come in to this room, say “hey” and it will be filled with love, unquestionable love and that predictable nature of us brings safety. Knowing that she may jump on the couch immediately after and pull me to her…to our room…where spontaneity will replace it with comfortable trust, passion. It is as though we know each other…are each other.

Our dating lasted..well, less than two months. It wasn’t two impetuous teenagers fighting against their parents, or leading a shotgun down the aisle; we were too old to get lost in a lust filled desire to just be together. I cannot describe to you the feeling that came to me (to us). Saying it was living life with an unquenched thirst that nothing could satisfy, parched, dry and on the verge of death only to find a single drop of liquid that filled you completely…made you whole….erased the burning sun and filled the space with a cool breeze might come close…not really. Probably closer to spending a long day working in the sun, beat down, taking a shower and climbing between clean sheets….having them hold you against the day, easing the burdens…no….not enough either.

Knew I could not find the words. It doesn’t matter. I belong here. I do not question that, and that is new to me. Fifty (almost plus one) and I finally feel that I am sitting in a place I belong with the person I have searched for since my first breath. Finally found the soul that called to me in my sleep, cried for me in fitful dreams. I know now why my life worked out how it did, why relationships were fleeting or shallow.

I was made for her.

Not your kudzu story…

•April 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I have shared again and again on this blog how it is possible to turn the page and start a new chapter. How it is possible to begin a new life…no matter if you only have seconds to live, those are precious opportunities to make changes; to finally “see”. So…………a selfish moment, maybe not turning a page, but removing a few that are dog eared.

I am not who I was last year, I am not who I was yesterday, I am not even who I was when I typed the last letter of this word. The measurement of our existence goes forward, never reversing. I cannot be twenty again outside my head, I cannot. But I can be me, the best me for those I love. For those who trust in me. I have this day and all it offers. I have now.

I pulled two pieces of paper from the jar my Joy filled for me. Things that she sees, things that pass through her head…for me to write about. She is waiting for a Kudzu story that I promised…but may save that one for another venue…today it was something that sparked a need to set something free.

I have learned that by saying it out loud (technically writing it), I can face it. I can handle it. I can affect its effect on me. This is not a recent event, but still has been crying to be heard. Has been dying to be set free for years……….and years….

 

 

I wake up every morning and pass a mirror that I personally feel is entirely too large. At my age, there are just parts of me that I would rather remember as I have them stored in my mind – 30 plus years ago when I carried a lot less pounds; and they were distributed in a highly (my memory not anyone else’s) flattering way…but like it or not, I see myself.

Most mornings I pass through uninterested, doing just enough to make myself as presentable as this package can be, and go on with my life. Fix my hair, brush my teeth, make sure the shirt I have on doesn’t have bacon grease or butter on the front (I know where the weight comes from), watch my Joy out of the corners of my eye as she gets ready…thank you for her. But now and again I look at my own eyes to make sure that there is still life there, that I haven’t lost that 6 year old inside; that it will be possible to find magic in that day if I try.

There have been days in my life where it wasn’t there; times when I let others dictate who I was, how I would live or if I would be happy. All too often I would look and see only the slightest glimpse of that little boy. Once or twice, he was gone; afraid of the life that the day would bring.

Those days (more than a few I am afraid) are the days that have left me with scars that are difficult to bear; for me and those around me. They collectively created a mask woven of false smiles covering broken dreams, chipped pieces of my heart, life not lived, fears, doubts…and with a very thick under coat of insecurities that my mind keeps fresh.

I struggled to see it for myself, the reflection in the mirror was acceptable to me. I could still see the 6 year old eyes peering through it, could feel magic and know that life had infinite possibilities. But the reflection of the man behind the mask in her eyes shoved me trembling to my knees. It held me there. I guess the reality, to be honest with myself, is that I pretended it wasn’t there so long; it was who I saw in the mirror. I knew it so well and had accepted it…had forgotten. In my mind as I sit here, I see the reaction to Lon Chaney’s phantom in her face – it wasn’t that dramatic; but it hurt me worse.

In an instant she saw the bad things that had been fed, nurtured time and again, by those in my life who had taught me to never trust. Bare before her, mask removed, she felt the organic and dynamic nature of the scars. I had always known them as living and growing things…like Kudzu (not your kudzu story); consuming everything….but no one had ever imagined it so. No one had cared enough to see, to try to understand, knew it for what it was.

Not blaming my past for my life, or those who I could claim as responsible for the scars. Although the bad collaborates with the great things in my life to dictate how I react to situations…it was me who allowed others to continue to fill my life with deceit and hurt. I chose to stay…I chose to accept…I chose to love in the face of certain failure, I chose to ignore the unpleasant truth. I am responsible.

I am responsible.

Me.

So I found myself in front of that mirror, and finally admitted who I was while looking through her eyes…not mine…and asked for this world to help me find a way to put it all down; to not only put the mask away, but to clean up the fucking mess left under it…that is left all over my world…building for too many years. She has done nothing to me, loved me, held me….she is not all who have come before me…nor could she ever be.

I will pray for understanding and patience.

I will ask for help.

But in the end I am responsible.

me.

 

 

…………….

 

Whew…..now I have to start scrubbing to make myself presentable. I have to understand the flaw that allowed me to be here….I have to ask her to hold my hand while I quiet the pain of who is behind the mask….I have to heal.

 

 

 

1:04 in the am…no mulligans

•February 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I closed my eyes

And that’s where I met you

Never imagined

That you could be real

…more than a dream

 

I woke up this morning

Reached out to find you

With only one question…

Is this life really

…more than a dream?

 

I ‘m not all good

And I don’t deserve you

But there you were

Waiting for me…

…more than a dream

 

Please no one wake me

Stir me, or shake me

It would only break me

To learn this is nothing

…more than a dream….

 

Cannot sleep…cannot breathe. The medicine the doctor has given me has left me feeling as though I am drowning when I lay down and I don’t like it much – seems to be a different reaction than most other antibiotics I am allergic to…about all of them. I keep running back to bed, trying…well mostly just to be close to her, to make sure she is still there…she is sick too (gave this funk to me – well I took it by not being able to keep from kissing her), but she still makes this sound that drives me insane when I run my hand across her back. I just don’t want to wake her. She needs more sleep than me.

So I am sitting upstairs writing gibberish, rambling…wishing I could truly express who she is to me…I am not sure she always knows. I don’t always make it easy. I try…I really try, but what I allowed to happen to me, the scars I let be etched in my psyche….they are a burden. Heavy at times.

 

Anyway….

It is quiet in here. The girls are in bed…my joy, our daughters, the two dogs…all girls…Pandora is playing on the ipad – Gotye “somebody that I used to know” at this exact moment. The heater is kicking on and off, the refrigerator also…I can even hear the fizz of the Diet Pepsi against the glass in front of me.

Going to pull something from the jar she filled with stuff to get me to write about…to write again…

Pulled out brown nosing….putting in back…after the events of this day, I would be fired if I unleashed that subject and anyone came within 100 feet of it.

Hmmmm..

The nightmare that lies beyond the door….no….not today either – still waiting for the cookie scribbling to gobble me up…put that back too…hmmmm…written on the back of one of her business cards. What is the significance of that one to her???? May have to ask…

….mulligan…

Ok…let’s do a mulligan…

Mulligan sat on the bar stool, facing the door as he always did; waiting. The few people who knew him at all, not really friends, would tell you it was because he hated his back to the door; Mulligan would tell you that himself. But the truth was, he was always waiting for something to walk through that door.

His story would be that of an average guy who made an above average number of bad mistakes if it were to be documented. It might leave the truly compassionate feeling sympathetic, but for most of the world; just disinterested. Were it not for the fact that today, this late afternoon, what he has been waiting for is coming toward that door, he would go unmentioned at all.

Mulligan had made it to fifty seven despite the fact that he had sat here on that stool four out of seven days (Thursday through Saturday – 6 till closing) for almost thirty years drinking until he could not recite the first letter of the alphabet. He had seen four owners, seventeen bartenders, uncountable waitresses and patrons pass through that door. He had been asked to leave more times than he cared to admit, but still he was always there. Waiting.

Rick, bartender seventeen, asked Mulligan if he needed another beer; his second of the day.

“No. I think I will have a shot of….”

The door opened, stopping him from speaking. He looked the old man up and down, decided it wasn’t her and finished his sentence.

“…tequila.”

“You sure you are going to be ok? Last time you had..”

Mulligan held up his hand and smiled. Rick quit speaking and turned to get the bottle. He knew the answer, and understood that Mulligan was just going to keep pushing until he was served.

The old man had made his way over to where the conversation was happening and pointed to the stool close to Mulligan.

“Mind?”

“Not as long as you are buying.”

He saw the old man smile and nod toward Rick.

“Whatever he is having is on me.”

“I was just kidding fella, I don….”

He interrupted Mulligan.

“It’s ok. I am leaving town today and I don’t mind.”

“Rick, the next one is on me ok?”

Mulligan noticed that while the man looked very old, there was a childlike aura about him. Something that spoke of happiness. He was about to introduce himself when the man spoke again.

“I really can’t stay that long. I have to be going soon, very soon. I just wanted to stop and pick you up.”

Rick placed the tequila on the bar and walked into the back room. There was no one else in the place except Mulligan and the old man, so he told them he would be right back as Mulligan downed the shot and stared at the old man who had turned to watch him.

“That is your last one Mulligan.”

“Excuse me?”

” Your last drink. A month ago, the doctor told you…and your few friends…and…well, you know the story Mulligan. That was your last one.”

Mulligan yelled for Rick, but he couldn’t hear him at all. He tried to stand, but his legs wouldn’t support him. His arms couldn’t pull him to his feet. He was about to panic when the man stood and walked over to him.

“Let’s go Mulligan. You have been begging for this for years, doing all you could to get me to come here, so now it’s time.”

“What are you…”

“Stop the whining man. You know me. You have sat looking toward that door, you have prayed for it every night. So here it is.”

He found he could stand easily. For the first time in thirty years, he felt light. Mulligan felt his life, his choices; his self-abuse wash away in a second.

“Now what?”

“Well, now you get another chance to get it right…another Mulligan.”

 

Ok………..really bad…but I am soooo tired, gonna try to lay back down again….thanks for the jar my joy, my life.

Bittersweet…

•February 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

“940 Saturdays” is the number of Saturdays between the day your child is born and the time he or she turns 18. (from no regrets parenting by Harry Rotbart)

I found a website that shows me there has been 1049 since my daughter was born…she is a bit over 19.

For about 10 years (624 Saturdays), I spent most of the time at ball fields listening to “hey batter batter” or pitching balls, coaching or helping to coach one team or the other…even did a stint as a soccer coach just to fill a void. There was that; there were also birthday parties, sleep overs, driving to the mall…the doctor…everywhere…but it is the softball that was our thing.

I was driving past Northeast on my way home from work one day last week and saw the softball team practicing. It has been a little over a year since I was married (71 wonderful Saturdays) and since stepping on a softball field…and I thought I was over it. But there they were on the field, and I almost ran off the road looking to see someone running, or batting…or anything!

Tears filled my eyes. Not because of the game, but the realization that I was no longer a part of it…no longer a part of my little girls time there. That we had both grown, had both moved on to other things…amazing and beautiful things; all that life held waiting on those 624 Saturdays…held waiting for us. It was one of those moments where you wanted to be sad, wanted to stop time; reverse time, and do it again. Part of me wanted to stop, but I would have just looked like the creepy guy hanging out….another part made me want to call my bug and see how she was (I did)…but part of me was just proud for what I see in her.

Don’t get me wrong, it is like finger nails across a blackboard to think of her grown, to think of her one day (soon!?!??!?) gone; it gets me deep down…but I am proud to see the things we learned there being used each day; to see the hard work and effort, the fellowship, the giving that is required on a team being carried into each day. I see the pushing I did (too much at times) making her able to do for herself, to not ask for me (makes me sad too – once in a while I still get to be dad) to handle things…well, ‘cept money. The woman she is becoming is in part due to those Saturdays spent with each other, with friends, extended family…getting dirty, getting loud, getting stitches…winning, losing…being.

I was not a good coach – but I loved the game and helping a kid to learn a thing or two. She a probably not a great player (dad goggles on, so can’t say), but for most of 624 Saturdays…for what I will always remember as some of the best times of my life…we gave all that we had to each other, for each other…and in life that is all anyone can do.

Cookies…

•February 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Ok………..a guy I work with heard the story about how my house was searched over a story. He suggested this as we ate Girl Scout cookies – purchased from four or five different worker’s kids (purchased!!!!).

He asked what kinda stuff got my house searched….what could I have written…well…this is FICTION!!…straight up bogus, out of the darkest corners of my mind, made up short garbage…if I were not so afraid of the reactions, I would have fleshed it out more (fleshed it out…hehehe). Anyway…thanks dude…maybe you will be there when they come take me from work…………….

 

I pulled them from the plastic grocery bag, opened them; placing the Girl Scout cookies on the bookshelves between my co-worker and myself.

I am sure I responded to their comments.

“those for us”

“Samoas, yes!”

“where did you get those?”

Where did I get those? That is when I stopped listening, still nodded, mumbled, but I was no longer a part of the conversation.

The darkness that comes from time to time, the darkness that has filled me since Friday morning, clouds out everything except for the crying. It is peaceful and melodic as I replay it. From a soft whimpering to a crashing scream for mercy that she has no idea will never come; the symphony whirls in my head…

‘What are you smiling about?”

I was back for just a second, only seconds; that is all it will allow.

“had a good weekend. finally found time for something I truly enjoy.”

Silence. The sound of the fight, the struggle to survive.

“thanks for the cookies. this all you have?”

“yes.”

I lied. There were several boxes in the basement, but some had been damaged, some soiled as I washed the basement floor. Others; victims of the slashing, the directing of the symphony. My co-workers were still talking, but I pretended to be working; typing on some meaningless spreadsheet as I struggled to stay put. I wanted to run home and continue. I wanted to finish….I want to………

“did you hear about the missing girl? think it was close to where you live?”

I want to….to listen to her cry more…to hear the screams…to…placate the darkness, to allow it to complete its course; to feed….

“no? when did this happen? i don’t watch the news.”

“friday afternoon sometime.”

I turned around in the chair and looked into his face.

“Maybe that is why all the police were around. i didn’t ask, just watched movies all weekend…drank some wine…listened to some great music….”

“they still haven’t…”

“great music…wonderfully exquisite,,”

“…found her.”

The rest of the day; empty. An invisible blur of activity that would have happened without me, did happen without me. The only thing that reminded me of it at all were the police dogs, the cars and the volunteers searching the area.

They stopped me. The darkness spoke in a calm voice, it steered me through the maze. It brought me back to here…to my basement; to finish composing. To finish feeding.

She must have heard the door open…heard me cook a small piece of meat on the stove, tasted its smell; knowing it for what it was because the whimpers started again as I walked down the stairs. I had a thin mint in my hand, half eaten, and she was turning her head from side to side, but she couldn’t see. My one weakness during the days I have to leave and allow this to be…I cannot bear to have them look at me. I cannot bear it at all; so it is the first thing that must be fixed…must be done…consumed.

“it will not be long today sweetie.”

She starts crying through the tape. I really wish it were not muffled, but I can hear the dogs and they are too close. This time everything was too close to home.

I will not make that mistake again.

Sunday morning

•February 24, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I am able to find less and less meaning in the daily rituals that must be performed. The tedious nature of the existence I continue to pursue is leaving me increasingly dissatisfied. Get up, shower, drive, log in…become frustrated by the direction of it all….log out. The drive home is when I finally wake up to the sound of her voice…and except for a few moments with her during the day, the hours seem so wasted. As we talk of our day, as she revives me, I can only answer same ole’ same ole’ to keep from ranting at the hypocrisy that has become me; the persona who must remain tethered against it all…for sanity’s sake.

I close my eyes and dream of fishing, of walking along the beach or the river, I imagine myself at home laying with her as the day wakes…of anything, anything except what each day holds…anything. Living for the afternoon or the weekend is taking its toll on my soul. I have become completely disenchanted with it all. I find myself thinking the word “regret” when I consider my time spent chasing after things I really do not need…and no longer want. I find myself a little depressed that I have allowed me to fall into this hole. Disappointed by my lack of action, by my inability to see it until now.

Today….today I made a pact with myself to be me. I am 50 and have wasted enough of the precious seconds handed to me…I have wasted enough of the gifts God has given me…talents, abilities, words…music, sunrises and sunsets…life.

Today…I change. Turn a page and start the next chapter….yep….literally and figuratively….great thing about being a human capable of free thought…I can change it all. Cannot re-write, but I can turn the page.

Good morning….courage to change the things I can…gonna worry about the wisdom of it all later….

Secrets….

•February 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I wish I could tell her.
She is busy throwing stuff in the shopping cart, driving me insane…disrupting my sense of right…and smiling at me; knowing the effect it has on me. But I love that she is that way, that she sees the humor in our life, our days…that she is a bit mischievous between the logic, when she isn’t worried about us having enough money.
I wish I could tell her who I am, the me she doesn’t know. I would love for her to know that I have about $750,000 locked in a bank downtown.
“Do we need more barbecue sauce?”
She has it in her hand, the with an underhand motion is is hurtling toward the basket. This time, I catch it and neatly put it beside the Pepsi.
“I guess we do!”
She gives me that smile again…she is beautiful…then off she goes around the corner.
It has been two years since we married; two years and three days to be exact, and I still marvel at how beautiful she looks in the aisle of a store…anywhere really.
“How can I risk losing her?”
“What did you say? Lose me?”
I hadn’t heard her come up behind me. She carefully put two cans of soup in the basket before looking at me.
“Are you okay hon?”
“Yeah. Just thinking about something I haven’t told you.”
“About?”
“Me…what I used to do….how I spent my time.”
“What?”
It almost flew out of my mouth on its own, but I couldn’t do it here.
“Can it wait for the ride home?”
Sadness filled her eyes, maybe fear.
“It isn’t bad.”
I hoped I wasn’t lying to her….it might be bad from her perspective.
“Ok…I guess.”
I told her I loved her. She knew it wasn’t good then, somehow, she always knew.

“98.35”
I felt her hand against my shoulder. I turned.
“You with us?”
“Huh?”
“It’s 98.35.”
I turned back toward the register.
“Sorry…”
A whisper came over my shoulder.
“We spent too much, we cannot afford all of that.”
I turned back to her and smiled.
“We need to make the house payment…the lights…”
I leaned over and kissed her.
“Just love me, ok?”
Se pulled back.
“Why wouldn’t I?”
Why wouldn’t she….God, so many reasons….

…gonna be all right…every little thing…

•January 27, 2013 • 1 Comment

Not sure I always know me

Probably never will

But I am coming closer

As I move “over the hill”

 

Finding peace is easier

Finally can understand

That prayer of serenity

When things don’t go as planned

 

My body is reminding me

To be careful what I choose

I keep the ground much closer

No extra time to lose

 

Still it is much easier

As I learn to understand

My smile holds serenity

Guess that’s what my God planned

 

Well now…that sucks. But I woke this morning with a highlight reel playing to Bob Marley and “everything is going to be alright”.

All the silly shit I have done in my life, the people ignorant of who I was that I let lead me away from me, the house I jumped from (the cars I jumped out of)…like a bad horror movie; all the gore rolled into three minutes shuffling over and over….and over.

And over……..

I dare you to…I know you won’t…it will not hurt you….I love you…..I never loved you….the feel of a car door as it hits you….the ground as it tears at you….the breaking of a wrist…the breaking of promises…the suffering of those I hurt….the smiles of those I couldn’t….lies…alibis…drugs…no drugs…drunkenness…unbearable soberness…joy of soberness…joy….Joy….over and over….banana bread…hunger…..

Over and over…I really just wanted to sleep, to lay beside my wife and listen to her breathe. To feel her warmth against me, to feel what I have learned to be love…real love….flowing in that breath, touching me in places I never felt love could…knew it never would….

I hate you…I deserve it…you are fired…you are hired….roll another one…no, don’t shoot him!…the feel of knuckles against bone…the fell of retaliation…anger…hatred…ingnorance…intolerance…

Over and over….the weight of the world against my chest…

So I got on up. Now I am sitting in the dark, alone, writing silly shit to let it out. My relief valve has popped and is slowly stabilizing the thoughts…..I can accept that the Marley song was there to help me through it, to remind me to come back to me. The reel was there to remind me to not forget, never forget the history (wish our world could do the same) that made me the man who woke this morning…remind me to use caution…but also to live without fear…..cause everything is gonna be alright…

Once again….God has granted me the serenity to accept…courage to change…..keep hoping for the wisdom to ALWAYS know the difference…he has given me another day to get it right…..or at least a chance to try.

“rise up this mornin’

smiled with the risin’ sun

three little birds….

…..cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

 

Think I need pancakes ….pancakes in bed….with blueberries….gonna be all right…and Joy….gonna be all right…no pancakes….just Joy….gonna be all right….

Bad dreams…

•January 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment

He wanted to hug her, to tell her it was all going to be alright…not perfect, but good. He desperately strained to reach across to her…less than a foot away on her side of the bed; her side of the lines that had been drawn. But the cold night air was all that occupied the space between them. It was all that would ever be between them again.

He loved her with all that he knew. He loved her with all that he had. He loved her as though she were everything…she was to him.

“Everything.”

The whisper echoed against the silence. She moved slightly. She had tried not to hear it.

“Stop.”

Her mind spoke words that no longer came through her lips. She had heard him, knew his heart…she just no longer wanted him. She no longer saw him as more than just a guy, another man. In spite of his passion, because of his passion; he had fallen to her.

“My everything.”

“Stop!”

He moved his hand just close enough to feel the heat of her, the life of her. It shocked him to know that just this much still brought waves after wave of emotion, of happiness, of contentment….of lust, unquenchable; intoxicating.

He closed his eyes and remembered the dream that was her, the life she breathed into him. The need to be a better man, a real man…not just any man….for her; with her.

And he had failed in her eyes.

The darkness bit at his hand, the coldness again taking over; forcing him to withdraw back to today…to who he was….the dream running again.

“maybe tomorrow…maybe then…”

She winced at the words.

He moved his head away from her, out of the flow of tears.

Wish I were whole at times….

•January 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

turbulent memories dive
…ferociously…

tearing at the swirling pieces…

….pieces she cannot recognize as me.

anxious screams fill the air…

…her needle stitches as fast as she can…

….trying to find me inside the violent storm; trying to see…

trying to piece it all together….

I should have never brought her here.

nothing exists in this place…

nothing… but…

…pieces she cannot recognize as me.

Irrationally rationalizing the irrational….or just up to late and sober

•November 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I have been rendered speechless for months; frozen by the realization that my dream is tangible. Amazed that I don’t wake up….in fear that I might.
For years (and years) I dreamt of a feeling – it came as a faceless beauty – which would leave me screaming for the darkness, clawing at the blankets…my eyes clenched shut as I begged for it to return….even as I sought to establish relationships with people who never provided the euphoria contained in 5 seconds of that dream, it would consume me…distract me….
…..remind me what I needed.
Now that dream never visits me in my sleep. Never.
My life has changed so dramatically that I no longer try to create those feelings…no longer need to force a relationship to be something it could never be, I don’t beg for a person to love me with just one tenth of the emotion that faceless creature would carry in the palm of her hand as it was held out for me to claim in my sleep.
She came to me.
With her hand on the back of my neck as I drive down the road, or coming up behind me as I cook for her, wrapping her arms around me – I know the power of that dream in my life. Not imagined, not projected on an inadequate substitute…she came to me and gives me all of herself.
And I am in awe that this universe deemed me worthy of her love. Humbled by the fact that I do not deserve it, thankful that the mistake has been made…and afraid that some accountant will perform an audit and discover the error!

…..and my fear has me spinning out of control! People joke with me (and I know it is all in jest) that she is going to wake up one day and realize who I am. One day the drugs will wear off, because she must be drugged to be with you. The honeymoon will end soon….and i give it back, letting them know that i keep a bag packed for that day….yes, i do drug her….gonna wake up one day….on on and on.
But the reality is I fear that she is going to hear the auditors voice when he finds that I owe more than was imagined. Or worse, I am going to finally wake from the dream. I hate that she calls it irrational fears….makes me feel a bit loose around the edges, a little out of control….but that is the way my Joy thinks….even though it is accurate, I hate to hear it. But for….daughter is 19, so….at least 19 years I have never been worthy of the attention, or worth the effort is how it felt…never been enough for anyone till her.

…..now, this is not a freaking pity party for one….so I say this only to get here….

It hurts my love that I have not written….this amazing woman thinks she doesn’t inspire me, doesn’t fill me with words.
I need you to know that is not it.
The words, the emotions; are bigger than my vocabulary many days…others, well, I have just been afraid to speak out loud.
What if I wake that scribe who then finds the mistake? What if I am called into a court and expected to present a case, to defend my happiness….why should it continue and I have nothing?
If I say it too loud, will I wake up?!?!
What if I jot down a line that could be wrongly mistaken as meant for or about another – too familiar? That chunk of fiction could fall on my head, knocking me senseless, destroying my ability to find her….to reach her….to pull the covers back over my head and know the Joy that is my life.

What if……well, just what if?

Shit. Does sound a bit irrational when I write it down….please don’t say I told you so…..

Will trust in the fact that I won’t wake up….and if some one comes to claim you….well, I will not go gentle into that good night! (Stole that last part from Dylan Thomas)

The clear sky
Foreign to me
Spells words that….
….well…
….that I don’t know…
….weaves a fabric…
….uncomfortable….
….yet…against the night…
….perfect…

Even if I can’t understand.

It makes me smile….

….and I know her.

271to1

•November 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

He couldn’t remember why he had started counting, but it had been 271 last night. 271, except for that day in August and those two in May when she had been gone on business.
271 days that she had come to bed and turned her back to him. Night after night he would listen to her washing her face, then brushing her teeth…then the door to the bathroom would open and he would see her silhouette crossing toward him. The hunger that was ever present, consuming him for those seconds…then she would slip into the bed beside him, lightly kiss him…tell him she loved him….then….271.
This morning, only three hours ago, he had reached 13. Thirteen days since the new waitress at the Waffle House had started; thirteen days since she started flirting with him, and he with her. Thirteen days since that silhouette at night had left him starving for her….since he had lay still beside her listening to her breathe, silently begging her to wake up and turn to him, to just touch him….to let him know she too needed him. Thirteen days dreaming of the last thirty minutes. Knowing what she would feel like, knowing that she would not turn her back to him, that she would pull at him, that she would try to devour him whole! That his hunger would be equaled by her needs…by their new infatuation.
As he stared at the ceiling, he replayed the morning…
“I need to work”
“I get off in twenty minutes.”
“I…could call in?”
……
“Kiss me…”
He turned to find her smiling at him, felt her hand slightly tucked under his side.
And he started counting again.

One…..one second since he decided to never go back.

Her kiss

•June 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment

He begged her to just hear the words he said, to not turn them into thoughts and nightmares. His heart broke that she would hear malice and anger where there was only adoration.
“why can’t you just remember how much you know I love you when you are here?”
He watched her as she sat across from him as he cried to be heard. The sound of the train taking them farther from home would have muffled any words he could have spoken, so he just looked at her.
“everything I do, or do not do, is with you beside me in my heart!”
She smiled at him. It was a sad smile.
He tried not to let the tears flow, she wanted him to be a strong man…maybe even a cold man, but he wasn’t able to be that man. He loved her with all that he was, it consumed him. He smiled back at her before looking out at the passing trees.
“I never think of anything but ways to make you happy. Ways to make you smile. I kept thoughts to myself, knowing you had made up your mind. It made me happy to know that I could give you that.”
He looked back at her. She was praying out loud.
“please. You promised to love me. You promised me that if I lived your way that you would care for me! I am begging for this!”
He wanted to hug her. To tell her how much he loved her, how much that she meant. The world revolved around just the touch of her hand, the smile from her lips…her kiss, her kiss.
“I am so sorry that I didn’t hear. I wish I could have erased the man I was before that first day I felt you. That I could have been a better man. That I could be forgiven…but I don’t deserve that…please don’t beg for me. Please don’t offer yourself for me. I am not worth it.”
He realized that his words had been spoken out loud for the first time. The man sitting beside him, who had been watching them both, spoke. It was as if the train had stopped, it became so quiet as his words flowed.
“you know she can’t hear. You are not the sharpest crayon in the box are you?”
He told the man to go fuck himself. It was a word he struggled not to say. A word that had cost him too much. Everything.
Then he turned back to her as the train roared louder in his ears. It was going faster and faster toward the end.
“I wish I could have let you know the pain I felt at times, the hurt that simple things you did or said…..insignificant to you…but devastating to me with my scars….I wish…..but you can’t hear me can you?”
The man beside him poked his arm. The stranger laughed when he turned to see why he had done it.
“you still don’t get it do you?”
Fuck you…it was the second time in as many minutes that he had said it. He turned back to her.
“I just wanted you to forget about yourself completely. Just long enough to kiss me. Just long enough for you to hug me and tell me you loved me. To put down everything, to put aside everything…to consider how important it was for me….as in my every action, my everyday….my every breath I would do for you.”
She smiled at him. Sadder this time.
A voice over his shoulder, opposite the man who had poked him, drew his attention. It was softer, gentler.
It was hers.
The man beside him laughed louder as the conductor cried out the stop ahead.
“hey…you ok?”
Her voice…calming and soothing.
The train screeched to a halt sending the man who had been beside him crashing to the wall. He fell and lay still.
An arm encircled his shoulders, breath caressed his neck.
“hey…talk to me.”
Her kiss on his cheek…her kiss.
He opened his eyes to find the empty room once again. The peeling walls, the sound of the train that passed every 15 minutes fading into the distance.
He sat up from the worn bed, the only furnishing in the room. No sheets, no blankets. There was no window, there was no door.
Just a man in his hell…alone with his thoughts.
He closed his eyes for a second. Then immediately opened them.
The dream would be the same. The words the same. The outcome; the same.
He smiled against the insanity of it all. Thinking of her kiss….the train came with a roaring that sought to destroy him….but he smiled.
He had known her kiss. Even hell couldn’t take that.

I know you are…but I ain’t ready…

•May 26, 2012 • Leave a Comment

It is late…or very early to be accurate….early in the morning, and my child…my wife’s child….and many of our friend’s children will be graduating from high school later this afternoon and evening.
I know I am not the first to experience this, nor will I be the last….but it is my first time to watch a child that I raised take a big step away from childhood. In all too few hours, she will begin the next chapter. We will turn a page.
This chapter, the rest of her story…it is now hers to write. As is it the choice of my stepdaughter…..and all of their friends. They decide who they will be for themselves, for those around them….who they will be with us, what relationship they will have with us….the time we are allotted, or denied due to their new choices their new lives.
I had tried to prepare myself for her growing up; under the guise that I was getting her ready, that we were getting them ready….for the world….to conquer, or to just survive….to flourish instead of flounder….to hopefully find a new level of contentment that escaped us at times. But I am way so much more less ready than them!
I was going through some old stuff, my Joy doing the same, and found my daughter’s first blanket, first doll….her first little over alls….pictures of her from birth to now…..the gown I was forced to wear during her birth with her foot prints on the chest….the same feet that will walk across the stage in a few hrs and carry her to accept a diploma…my Joy recounting the same stories about her children with the same love in her voice, in her eyes, that I feel.
I am so not ready.
I closed my eyes living the years filling my box of most precious possessions (first tooth…ball from the first time we played golf…so much) and felt her hand in mine. How it was so small as she walked beside me, reaching up, interested in everything about me…looking at me as if everything we did was magic….me looking at her as if everything in the universe was magic with her there; she was magic to me!!!! She is….my Joy’s daughter is….our “adopted” daughter is…..her other children…..all blessings!! All gifts…the greatest gifts.

So many days they all thought we didn’t care because we had to be parents….so many days they thought we held all the secrets to the universe…we have at some point been everything good and bad to them all…everything…

Realized I am rambling. Where was I? Ok…..let’s see…not ready…not ready…oh yeah…not ready…

Now it is their life to build.

They are the writers….we pushed them to this blank page hoping they paid attention; praying they understood that some pages we turned for them were necessary. We filled in words along the way that they didn’t understand, their vocabulary still less than it will be in five years, ten years…twenty…some words, some paragraphs and chapters still too complex for their experiences to comprehend…too painful for them to embrace and make personal….to accept.
We edited, even re-wrote paragraphs to make sure they were safe, comfortable….some in color, some in black and white….fantasy, reality….doing the best we could to teach them how to create beautiful stories….warm biographies….more happy than sad…

Now we must hand the pen to them….they are ready…..

……to you Katie..to you Hannah….to you Courtney….to all of the children I was blessed to meet, to coach, to drive somewhere….to just know….I thank you for giving me so much more than I ever gave you.
I wish for you……everything. I will pray each day that you find paths that match who you are and carry you on adventures worthy of the beauty inside you all…that when the rain comes, you learn to dance and sing….that you gain understanding with each sunrise, find peace in each sunset…..that you live!
Selfishly, I pray you can find a time to forgive our mistakes (as parents, we made more than a couple) once you discover the truths of your lives…become more independent, more accountable……forgive the bumps and scrapes that we all acquired.
As you choose what to take with you, who you will be…I pray you remember it as we will…filled with so much love… Filled with the hope we have for you….knowing that we did the best we could…knowing we will always see you looking up at us with awe…remember the blessing we saw as we looked back…as we always will…that when we open a box and find a pacifier….hell, even when we see other parents just beginning the journey….we will fight back a tear because our babies are grown…because we cannot hold you on our laps and turn the pages…we can only sit back and watch the great things we know you will record along your personal journeys.

I love you all…..I know you are ready…….but I sure ain’t!!!!!!!!!!

….and know this…..we are ALWAYS here if you ever need a hug, a kind word….a few bucks (very few)….not doing your laundry much longer…..or feeding you…..Joy probably will way longer than me…just sayin…

Congratulations. We do so love you all.

Mad and “heavy” ramblings from a fat butterfly…

•May 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I bet they look at us….asking, “why do you let gravity keep you down”. Joy made this statement at Quidam (Cirque du Soleil) in Evansville as a small girl was tossed into the arms of a man standing on the shoulders of a man….who was standing on the shoulders of another man. Three high she flew, softly landing on extended arms. It was beautiful.
After she said it, I immediately saw myself on my dad’s cb tower, 40 + feet in the air, looking out over the river bottoms….I saw myself jumping from the roof of our house…..I saw myself jumping through a hula hoop, doing back handsprings, back flips….a two and a half off of the high dive during the summer…..climbing from the front seat of a small truck to the back to get a beer while traveling at fifty miles and hour down a country road – to get a beer; to show them I would…..(yes…I used to be capable of doing all of those)
……and before the next breath, I remembered sitting in physics and learning that force=mass*acceleration….that gravity has to be factored into every equation related to flight…..that letting go from that tower would have forced me to learn the reality of gravity without having learned the mathematical explanation of why my bones would disintegrate at the end of the fall…..not the fall that kills you-but it would still hurt like hell…
Then thought about Santa….the Easter bunny…..the tooth fairy….fairies in general…..fifty cent a gallon gas….other things I have been forced to be realistic about….
…..then I got all crazy punkinheaded philosophical……or my mind just went wacky would be a better description….

Why do we let gravity keep us down….not the physical limitations governed by laws of or world….but the “weight” of our lives? Our personal burdens, the things we need to carry…or think we need to carry….why do let allow them to stick to us, why do we think it is possible to carry them all?
I know that I have enough trouble getting out of bed (the physical gravity of living on Earth is sooooo not my friend) without the extra weight of other peoples shit; the grief and pain they direct toward me. I cannot afford to let it add to my mass,
Googled answers to gravity…for explanations….I have attached Newton’s answer along with some info from a web site…..http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/circles/u6l3c.cfm

Since the gravitational force is directly proportional to the mass of both interacting objects, more massive objects will attract each other with a greater gravitational force. So as the mass of either object increases, the force of gravitational attraction between them also increases. If the mass of one of the objects is doubled, then the force of gravity between them is doubled. If the mass of one of the objects is tripled, then the force of gravity between them is tripled. If the mass of both of the objects is doubled, then the force of gravity between them is quadrupled; and so on.

Since gravitational force is inversely proportional to the square of the separation distance between the two interacting objects, more separation distance will result in weaker gravitational forces. So as two objects are separated from each other, the force of gravitational attraction between them also decreases. If the separation distance between two objects is doubled (increased by a factor of 2), then the force of gravitational attraction is decreased by a factor of 4 (2 raised to the second power). If the separation distance between any two objects is tripled (increased by a factor of 3), then the force of gravitational attraction is decreased by a factor of 9 (3 raised to the second power).

Now that explains it for me…..I have always believed that we follow the basic structure of the universe….that “things” gravitate toward others. Just as parts of an atom group themselves, bound by their forces….petals of a flower cluster around their axis…people to each other….populations are drawn to cities….planets to a star….stars to a universe…..etc….. And as their mass increases, their ability to draw more grows….they attract other masses….often swallowing them entirely….until their whole being cannot distance itself from another, more powerful mass…and it becomes lost. Lost forever.
I felt that pull. I let myself be burdened by so much, so many meaningless things, that my soul could no longer keep its self from being attracted to a darker, entirely limitless emptiness….and I was being consumed. I had allowed others to leave me attached to their crap, their bullshit….allowed them….ALLOWED THEM….to weigh me down….. They were making choices to hurt, to be self destructive, overly critical, sad, angry…and I was caressing each and every emotion and claiming it for me…my “mass” was growing exponentially with each interaction, the closer I came to their issues….the more I accumulated…..
Then I stopped. I claimed responsibility for my role in the good and the bad…I held my self, my soul, accountable for the things I had done….. And I gave the rest back. It wasn’t mine to carry…it was not mine to hold. It was not my choices that put them in that place, that made them need to be who they were… I pushed hard. It was a struggle to segregate it all, to file it where it belonged….to find that distance and allow myself to no longer feel the pull. I gained separation from a lot of situations, people and problems….places I should have never been….and moved to a better place inside me.
It just seemed that the more I worried about everything, the more I needed to worry…the more I was worrying, the more things I could find to worry about….my capability to worry (my size or mass) was growing…and growing…and attracting bigger problems….and destroying me….swallowing me….
…..now….damn, I feel so much lighter…..and the things I attract…the people I let in…

Why do we let gravity keep us down….hell, I dunno. Maybe because milk duds in popcorn add to my ass….maybe because I have an uncontrollable (just choose not to control) urge to consume Klondike bars….maybe because I just stopped believing that I could do a back handspring because I let someone tell me i couldn’t…could it have been the knowledge that taught me it would hurt bad to fall – because i ate the apple and knew why it had hit me n the head….maybe because we want to feel responsible for every bad thing we witness…who knows the answers….does it even matter?..

All I know is this….that girl in the show floated like a butterfly to the top of that tower and I would do whatever it takes to be lighter…..to feel that free.

,

20120501-072348.jpg

Tweedle dumb……or things I should delete

•April 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment

My Joy has filled a jar with topics, words, quotes and other random stuff as a point to start me writing about something. I know I mentioned it before, but I had told no one that it has been sitting…staring at me….without attention. In the night I would hear it saying my name; daring me to pull one out and write something….even if it stunk up the night sky…write something.
“hey dude, she loves you…she filled me…..now get off your dead ass and pull a sheet of paper from me!”
I tried to ignore it…to tell it I was busy. “My Joy is next to me (naked at times)…I ain’t got time for you!”. I knew I would eventually pull a random piece of paper and use it to go somewhere in my big ole (punkin damn it) head. I just wanted it to shut up. Then she asked me to write again, said she missed it….
My god, she is my world….I would do anything for her.

This morning….a quote by George Harrison….

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

Really? I mean, she put this jar there for me, with random words and thoughts….to inspire, to provoke (i like that word)….so that I would write something. So on days where someone had not cut me off in traffic, I wasn’t moping about the fact that I am old and beaten….for days my alias was just mike….I could start in some direction. So that I would not sit idle, but head off down some road….go somewhere! Have direction. And the first thing I pull out after this long period is a quote that (right or wrong) says to me…go do something….use me to have direction…pick a road….don’t just wander.

Now, not sure of the context of mr Harrison’s quote….need to check…guessing it means know where you are going….let me look….

……hold up..my curiosity got the best of me…..Googled it….”googling” something…still sounds perverted, in a fun way…or maybe….sorry distracted…..

Seems George has taken this quote, creating a song “any road”, from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll!?!?!

Gonna have to rethink is this the road I want to follow….do I really want to go down this rabbit hole? It is a long and winding road…..and here comes the sun…I am going to be late….very very late…..but, there is something in the way she moves me…..I am as mad as a hatter…..

Off with his head…..I mean to work…..

So very very late…….

Tater chip….or more like bullchip

•April 26, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I always thought it would be cool to have an alias. Not like a tater salad kind of alias, but something cooler, something bigger.
Went through a period where I had more of a nickname….didn’t like it much, who wants to be called punkinhead cause you can’t find hats to fit your big melon….uhhh, guess punkin…..and all your “friends” think it hilarious….would have rather been tater chip….rather been bull chip!
Then, I got my alias. I was no longer mike…no longer just me…and at times I thought it not the coolest until the first time I realized that no one called me by it any longer…..I was so sad the first time I heard Mr…..can’t even say it….instead of Katie’s dad.
That’s right…I had a new alias…mike, Michael, punkinhead (damn it)….and Katie’s dad.
I doubt that there are parents or people I met during the last 18 yrs and almost 6 months who knew my name….definitely didn’t know that the average cap wouldn’t fit this big ole head….didn’t know anything about me, except “that is Katie’s dad”.
Now, it was not the kind of name that struck fear into the hearts of those who heard it, nor did it gain me special favors or entry into restaurants and events….that isn’t true either…I could get into plays, 4H speeches, soccer games, softball games…I was even asked to coach both though I knew nothing about them..the PTA courted me, the cafeteria lady knew me by sight….thankfully the principal didn’t ( unlike the earlier days in my youth when they knew me by first and middle name )….daycare would announce me as I walked into the door – “Katie’s dad has arrived!”….or is here, not sure….
But it was absolutely the greatest alias I could have been given….the best! Like I said, I didn’t realize how much it meant to me until the first time I heard her friends call me Mr. Cheatham……now, she is working (proud of her), about to start college….after graduation in May….and I have to accept that my days as Katie’s”…..

“……No. I refuse. I am now, and forever…henceforth and forthwith and other hences and forths….Katie’s dad. Nothing anyone can say or do will ever take that away, or change that! It has been one of the greatest gifts, the greatest joys (have found a new Joy-she is amazing….) of my life.
So if ever arrested(again-another story)…under aliases and next to punkinhead I shall pen….Katie’s dad.

Love you bug.

My back hurts…but the sun is so freaking warm

•April 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment

If I had a time machine, would I use it? Would I go back and fix some great injustice or my own indiscretions?
I say no.
What would be the consequences of changing the choices I made…reshaping the choices that others made? I wouldn’t take one thing and form it to be any other. I cannot help but feel that my soul is learning what it needs to know, my heart has felt what it needed to feel, that my life has purpose….even if I don’t always get it.
Maybe that is my way of avoiding regret, but it works for me. It keeps me from lying awake, crying and lamenting shit loads of “what coulda beens”….”what shoulda beens”….hoping that tomorrow will fix it all somehow. It allows me to see my life for what it is…..average at times, inadequate at times, filled with hope….filled with sadness some days….grand, beautiful, filled with love….I get to see it as an amazing journey…full, even on its emptiest days.
I have been blessed to know the pain, the heartache, the suffering along the way….so that I could recognize the sun, the love and not take it for granted.
No….don’t think I would change a thing and risk moving one door to be closed for me…for you….for anyone. Or worse, open doors that should never be open, to swing them wide and let us pass into places filled with false light; false hope.
Woke up this morning….this is my chance to pay attention and learn something new, to do something good…or not. To be happy, or not……….to do it again…..
Sweet.

You don’t tell me what to do…

•April 24, 2012 • Leave a Comment

My Joy asked me why I had not written for two months.
Has it really been two months? Guess I had lost track of time, or to be honest…had lost track of myself….had lost track of everything….hmmmm….l know that none of those are the truth. I have just been lost in her.
Completely lost in our love.
Never did I imagine (was I capable of imagining) that I could find such a connection with another person. That just thinking about her would make me giddy, that our individual thoughts and feelings could form more whole emotions. Guess maybe i had never truly known what it was like to be loved back? Not gonna think about it much either…just going to let it be….
Anyway….why haven’t I written….was it the sadness, the depth of the loneliness and it’s grip (tight and choking) that squeezed the words from me for years? Did It force me to write to survive. Forced me to cry out loud maybe??? Now no sadness, no words?

No…..

Why haven’t I written…..

Because…I just wanted to sit and watch you brushing your teeth…….watch you sew….watch you read….watch you….well, just watch you. Still do.

But….you said you missed reading….that you want to look each day and find my words…so….I will watch you out of the corners of my eyes….and write for you…

Start here…….with seven words…….you don’t tell me what to do! Kidding honey….no really…you don’t tell me what to do! Kidding honey….no really…this can only end bad for me…so….

Well, yes you do….and that’s ok too….cause nothing I would rather do…than write some words for you…and nothing is more true….than the fact that I love you….and true rhymes with do….and so does shoe….and glue and moo….and few….and boo and hoo….ok…I am done…uhhhhh, through.

Have to work….dang it…

6 months…

•February 20, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Today….6 months since we had our first “official” non work related “just hang out” night at jamming in the alley.
This Wednesday…4 months since we were married.
Each second in between has been marked by true happiness. Until that day in August, I had been trapped in a body that only imagined love for a woman….hod only written about it, dreamt of it; believed it to exist…..felt it in an empty heart.
And to her…my Joy….

I believe
In us…in you
I trust
In us…in you
How wonderful…..
….to know…
finally….completely…
Love.

Can’t always get what you want…..but what you need is in the heart..

•February 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I wish that our children could understand, but they don’t. It is not our role as parents to give them what they want, but to find the place in our heart to help them make right decisions; decisions that will ( hopefully we pray) help them to be their best – not someone’s vision of them….their personal best.
It is easy for outsiders to criticize, to judge….so easy with snippets of the truth, fragments of reality….but it is not their place. We as parents take on the role to raise and protect…..to guide our children to do the right things, to avoid the wrong things…to think before acting.
And we must follow our hearts…even when it hurts others, we have to do what we think is best. We make mistakes, we cry, we yell…we beg for better answers that don’t come at times….but in the end, all we have is our hearts…and our connection with our kids…our knowledge of who they are….who they truly are…not just what we perceive them to be.
In the end, we do the best we can. And we love them.

To my valentine…..

•February 14, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Adele is playing in my headphones, hauntingly beautiful is how I find her voice to be…slightly angry, filled with longing…just full. It echoes the hours, the nights and days that passed, the days that held my hand and brought me to here…to now. To my Joy.
It is the 14th of February….our first Valentine’s Day as husband and wife. Both of us are home, she on a call for work (work…..talk about that soon)…and me writing on the couch behind her. We took the day to see a doctor in Nashville and will be leaving soon, but now….a fire,her just over my shoulder….beautiful and in love with me for some reason…..my life is filled with more blessings than I deserve. More than I deserve….so much more.
From the emptiness and longing, the pain of loneliness….the despair that comes from having so much to give and unable to find one to take it, to hold it as sacred as I knew my love to be….to just love; look into someone’s eyes and see them feel the same, to know they do not doubt it, do not question it…..to go from the certainty that it will ever exist to where I am when this woman smiles at me, without moving her mouth…to know the truth of what love can be….the absoluteness of her heart and feelings for me!
More than I deserve. So much more than I thought possible. Everything!
My Joy.
No cards, no flowers, no gifts could possibly express how much I love you.
No words, no poem, no phrase could possibly tell you.
I only pray that you always see it when you look at me, when you smile at me and I know who I am to you.
I love you.
Immensely.
Dangerously high levels.
Completely….always.

Marshmallow cream from the jar….

•February 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I feel like death has Ignored me again. I screamed for its attention only to be ignored, to be denied access. Is it some private club where I am not worthy of inclusion?
Why can’t I slip into it as a spoon easily finds a path through a bowl of marshmallow cream? I want it to part for me, pull me in, then surround me with its quiet comfort…take me out of sight…into the darkness…to her.
22 lortab and all I have to show for it is a headache….and this clown watching me out of the corner of his eyes with my shoestrings in his drawer, my belt beside them!
His incessant questions, accusations and looks of pity…as if he understands me, anything about me! As if this rich pompous mother fucker has a clue why I filled the tub, her tub…with water….filled it full and then poured her favorite soap in…
He has no idea who she was, who I was with her. He couldn’t feel the few seconds, somewhere around fifteen of those solid white pills, that she was there…where I could once again taste her breath as she turned to me in that tub, her tub, and spoke my name..told me of our forever. Our forever!!! The tiny millisecond where I felt her hand brush against me under the water, the reminder of her hunger for me….the hunger that now leaves me doubled in pain…leaves me screaming for her when I am sober…when I am living….every fucking day!!
Yes
No
Never again
Foolish
Yes sir
I hear the voice and know it as mine. I hear the falseness in it…the sounds that this petty little bitch is incapable of recognizing. But all the while, I feel her hand under that water as she lightly strokes me…I feel her wonderful breasts as I wash them, then move lower…
I wasn’t thinking
Glad they found me
Yes sir
…and into her…the way she would look like a child, afraid of how we made each other feel, but embracing it all the same…
Never take pills again
No sir
….then roll her head back on my shoulder and let go….
Tomorrow would be nice
Yes someone will be there watching me
Daughter
…..this time, I will dial direct. Death cannot deny me for a third time….I will feel its marshmallow softness hold me! Then I will demand that it take me to her. I will force my way across that reality and go to her and nothing will stop me!

Food fairies are a myth….

•January 26, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I was watching our teenagers as they looked in the refrigerator and the pantry….jealously….because I remembered the magic of being able to do that. To just open the doors and find food, oblivious to the cost, the work…the sacrifice…that goes into that being possible. Even growing up, to find a box of cereal or a can of spam; never thinking where did that come from…not for a second.
It reminded me of the first time I went to the grocery on my own. I had grown up more fortunate than some, so I had no concept of cost, of the addition that must go on in your head as you choose between generic or branded….meat vs potatoes…ramen vs real food. I blissfully went from aisle to aisle filled with hunger and need; ignorant.
Then I approached the counter, pulled the items from the cart – the entire time thinking of what I would do with the rest of the money from the “big” paycheck in my pocket – and smiled as the register happily chirped away….and away….and away…and I started watching….chirp…chirp…shit….chirp….then it started to sound like a death toll in my ears.
(not sure this is the exact number, but close)
87.56….
I pulled the entire ( this is close too) 135.00 from my pocket and looked at it, at the register, at the food that should still be magically appearing in my cabinet….and swallowed the first hard lesson of living on my own.
There wasn’t magic in that cabinet.
There wasn’t a refrigerator fairy.
Sorry Virginia….all the sudden to me there was no Sa…won’t write that,but there was only me standing there with enough money for gas, and as I later learned….enough junk to eat for about four days….no real food.
No beer money, no fun funds…..just a steaming pile of reality.

I don’t envy them, the day they learn that lesson too. Wish I could spare them that…..wish…damn…need to go to work now….belly rumbling…..later.

Roll of the dice…hand knitted sweater….lucky me!

•January 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment

There is a jar in the bedroom. It is filled with things to write about, topics or simple phrases. It is a roll of the dice what’s going to come from that jar…I reach in and pull out a slip of paper that she has placed there (she took the time….for me!), then ponder it for a bit before making up something to include that phrase, or words.
I have been struggling to write about anything. Not because I have quit thinking, but because it is hard to do anything but sit and spend time with her…to touch her. I mean really…she spent a couple days pouring things into that jar (carefully writing each one by hand) in between knitting a blanket. Why?
I kept looking over to her as she knitted a blanket…..let me kinda skip for a bit…it was a sweater, but she thought it would be something I would feel compelled to wear, not just want to….beautiful blue yarn. I never pictured me wearing it to be honest. My image was putting it on one morning just as she called me back to bed. He taking it from my back as we kiss, as I feel the magic – the extremes – that exists within our relationship…and then, after catching our breath….I imagined her pulling it on and us sitting on a cold winter morning in front of the fire….her in my sweater, nothing but that wonderfully soft sweater she had knitted for me. And I would…..sorry…
I kept looking over as she was knitting on that blanket (whole buncha other images here) and she turned to me and smiled. Not with her lips, not with teeth…but with her entire being, her soul…her heart….and I know why she would take the time to fill out those slips of paper. I know why she would sit knitting for me. I know “why”.

She loves me.

Old dog…need to learn…something….

•January 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I have been online this morning looking for the classes I missed as a young(er) man. They do not seem to be available anywhere, at least not yet.
To be honest, I wasn’t aware that I needed them. I have been getting along just fine….kinda. This year, the fiftieth of my existence, hasn’t brought any sweeping changes yet….hasn’t seen me on the same ride as last year….so, why standing in front of the mirror this morning did I suddenly realize the need? After all, it has been seven days….and using the word old….I mean really…and old wine is preferred, aged cheese is better, antiques have more value…..things with age have more character, they have experience….
….I am not…..I mean…..like beautiful statues that have withstood time….still viewed with awe, envy…maybe missing an arm or two….but still….
….shit…..classes in tact, words not to use while brushing your teeth with the most amazingly beautiful (amazingly ageless) woman of your dreams……damn….maybe just some lessons in “when to shut the hell up”…..
So….anyone know of any….or at least where to find a getoutoftheholeidug ladder…..please let me know.

Well, off to send a text to my beautiful, sexy….the most amazing woman….(she has all of her limbs)….desirable….friend, lover…..wife….pretty sure she said “for better or worse”, need to ask friends…
……adding “ass kissing after you didn’t shut up” to the list…..need the advanced class….

Later…

Friday rambling………

•January 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Read an article about falling out of love with someone. The reasons “why we fall out of love” was the title.

I usually don’t indulge in anything with such a title (there is my manly attempt to defend reading it- or to cover my ass for reading it), but having been on the side that never “falls out” my whole life, I was wondering why.

To be honest, my expectations were lower than if I had been trying broccoli one more time to see if I was going like it (not gonna ever like it)…but I read on anyway. And much to my excitement, I found why I don’t fall out – I have to be kicked out.

I am quoting from the online article….it showed up on Yahoo this morning – written by Laura Schaefer (http://yahoo.match.com/y/article.aspx?articleid=12680&TrackingID=526103&BannerID=926100) – so thought I should give credit…..

  1. A distancing “Wave” can topple a good thing if you let it.

    Ken Page, psychotherapist and author of the Finding Love blog for Psychology Today and founder of the Deeper Dating website, has identified a phenomenon that can destroy new love: “The ‘Wave’ occurs when we unconsciously push a caring and available person away by inwardly diminishing his or her worth.” Think about how Carrie Bradshaw behaved when she first started dating Aidan Shaw: Aidan was “too available” and Carrie freaked because she wasn’t used to being with someone so open.


    “When someone is available and decent,” Page explains, “something inside us knows [this person] can get to our nest, our soul — the place where we care the most and can be hurt the most. And our unconscious gets panicked.” If you find yourself breaking up with someone awesome for no good reason, check yourself; you might be acting out of fear. After all, real love is a big deal. It involves a leap of faith, and that can be a scary thing. Those who give in to the Wave fall out of love before they even give themselves a chance to fall properly in love, and that’s kind of sad.

     

Now…I have been crushed by waves, and washed ashore by raging seas filled with ginormous waves…but when it comes to this, I am picturing myself as a lake on a slightly breezy day. Even after all these years, I am only slightly cautious (jaded??)….I want someone in my nest (she is beautiful and still sleeping this morning). I am here and glad she is interested in my soul…it is bare and there for her – I like her searching in the corners…love her helping me to sweep out the darkness, the dust and grime, that exists in the corners where I hid stuff. Always wanted that, but like I said…usually felt the sand scraping my face and body as I tumbled under “waves” instead.

 

  1. Unwillingness to discuss relationship problems.

 

Guy Winch, Ph.D., author of The Squeaky Wheel: Complaining the Right Way to Get Results, Improve Your Relationships and Enhance Self-Esteem, says that people fall out of love because they don’t talk through their relationship peeves with each other: “Research shows that couples who are able to voice complaints well and discuss them productively have greater marital satisfaction and much lower divorce rates than couples who are unable to do so.” If you’re in a newer relationship, iron out the kinks early on to keep love alive over the long haul. “It is much easier to address issues earlier in a relationship than later, just as it is much harder to mold cement once it has dried and hardened,” explains Winch.

Talking….I like talking…I like talking too much. I examine each and every aspect of my life. I dismantle each conversation, each day and look for ways to improve it. Sometimes that has been a relationship problem for others with me. But I learned long ago….don’t hold that inside – our capability to store discomfort and uneasiness is limited; it has to come out sometime, and it is better in small doses than an explosion after we have been stuffed full.

I have been around concrete my whole life – dad poured concrete, I drove a truck that hauled it – and know the truth of it “being much harder to mold….once it has dried and hardened”. I am capable of being concrete. That is a chore at times, remaining fluid, flexible. It is one of the things that I pray to maintain. And to be honest, there are a couple things that I am not able to change….but I have learned to be very upfront and talk about those too (and found that with persuasion and compromise – I can even adjust those). But I still try to see what can be instead of shutting down. I am willing to pop out a chisel and carve a bit….I want something that lasts forever like the pyramids….and I know that those stones needed a bit of tweaking to fit together….

….and then we got to these lines…

Then again, love doesn’t necessarily have to last decades (or a lifetime) to matter. Romantic relationships can also evolve into dear friendships — and that’s perfectly fine. Dr. Lissa Coffey, author of the book, Closure and the Law of Relationship: Endings as New Beginnings, agrees. “We may come together for a certain period of time to help each other learn and grow, and when that has been accomplished, we’ve gotten everything we were meant to get out of the relationship. Then it changes,” Coffey explains. “It doesn’t have to end; it’s just redefined.”

 

“It doesn’t have to end, it’s just redefined.” I live by this. I love by this…I will even climb on a pulpit and stand against the waves crashing on my pyramid and scream this….

I love with all my heart, soul and mind. With all of me….and I am at this moment lying in the heart of my truest friend, my greatest lover, my forever….and if for one second I doubted that, I would call to her…ask her to help me draw the “new us”. I would NEVER give in to boredom, to some notion that it wasn’t real and we were too different….that we couldn’t find a place to stand together. NEVER would I shut down and watch the waves beat against the stones and erode them without taking extraordinary measures to shore it up.

I have found that our ability to change, to adjust….to redefine ourselves again and again….is one of the greatest gifts we are given…we just have to accept it…choose to use it.

 

Like I said…usually don’t read these types of articles…and am guessing something bigger than me had me read this one…but now I know (was reminded really) why I don’t fall out………and why I am going back to bed for a bit and hug up on her….and kiss her….and …..well, she won’t let me write more details than that………

Must be Monday….no Tuesday….Wednesday??

•January 4, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Reading all the news I usually indulge in…whatever pops up on the computer…..

The Iowa caucus….some rich guys thinking they know what is best for the average man??…..when was the last time they walked through a grocery store deciding if they should forego beans for rice because it happened to be a bit cheaper this week? When have they last held their breath driving to work on payday, hoping that the low gas light had come on a bit early because of the steep hill between there and home? How long has it been (if ever) since they sat at home crying against a pillow because that pain in their side had to go undiagnosed due to the lack of insurance, lack of money?

Will they really understand the needs…………just saying.

Usually avoid religion and politics….that one just leaked out. Sorry.

Shoulda vented about the KKK store that is now owned by a church (won’t say black church, why would religion ever be about color or race??)……damn….either way, bet a bit of racism will disappear from that old theater…..wish that theater was our entire world…..

Oh hell……racism, religion and politics……..maybe the super foods and perfect sandwich…..or what stars are now engaged…..

….maybe just write about corporate America….?????…..no…..need the job….

 

……later……

 

 

Monday…..

•January 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I stopped long enough to check my lottery ticket…then pulled on my shoes and headed to the place where I work. Almost there, I took a turn that left me headed to the coast.

I couldn’t do it any longer.

The sun sets too early in Tennessee to be spending the time sitting behind a desk answering phones. The days just kept passing before me through the window across the office…too many days. I needed to get away….

So I figure I have about two paychecks before they cut them off……then maybe three months before I am completely broke….depends on how frugal I can be.

……………………….I stopped long enough to check my lottery ticket…..then pulled on my shoes and went to the place where I work.

I can see the sun through the window across the office….another day…..the phone is ringing…..damn it.

Right in the freaking forehead!!!!

•January 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

1-1-2012….

I sat last year writing about the new year, how I was going to start over (all those 1’s, 1-1-11) and make the most of it; seize the days….resolve to do the things I always wanted, make a difference….

Then (as with all unfulfilled resolutions), it seemed I was just holding on as things ran on – out of my control. I was working too many hours, sitting alone at the end of the day, desperately trying to lose weight….running in place. Going nowhere really, just another year in a life….surviving once again….waiting for something without knowing what, without trying to find it either.

Then I was smacked upside my big ole’ head, right in the forehead, and dropped to my knees. God forced me to look up from the trivial and re-examine where I was…to face a series of events…to move into action.

And my world was forever changed. My views, my priorities….forever changed. In what seemed to be the end of all I knew, all I trusted, I found even greater hope for each day.

………not going to replay all that….no need. Not going to make resolutions about this year either….wouldn’t keep ’em if I did, never have.

Today, I am just going to sit here with my beautiful wife (maybe write about her stalking me…and how I proposed???), watch football, bad movies….eat too much, hug as much as possible…kiss her often and with all the passion in my soul….

…and….

…do the one thing that last year taught me….I am going to live each second celebrating the gift that smack in the forehead gave me………hopefully remember to do so every day….

Happy New Year everyone…..

 

And for you……..thank you for the smack in the head…..and for bringing Joy to my life. I owe you……

used to hate baths….

•December 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

As I lay against her in our bathtub…my back to her chest, my head against her shoulder…she gently squeezes a rag filled with warm water against my head. It flows down my neck, across my shoulders and back into the water that fills the tiny gaps between us.

I see none of this. My eyes are closed…enjoying the sensations…the feel of her against my back, of her breath on my ear. This is how my heaven would be…this is exactly what I imagined love eternal to feel like, what I thought possible in dreams…what I knew existed.

“I always wanted to write a song…”

She continues the statement. I am sorry that I cannot repeat the rest, that I cannot duplicate the finish to her remarks….because she ran the back of her finger across my chest. I remember wanting to tell her that she had…she was at that instant playing my our song.

I wanted to scream at her for being deaf…for not being able to hear it…but, she traced the path she had just traveled with that finger and drew tiny circles toward my face…and I was unable to speak, to even breathe….

It wouldn’t have mattered. There is no way she would hear my words over the most beautifully decadent music she was creating; me as her instrument. No way I could speak them loudly enough, strongly enough….capturing with any truth how I felt…

So I just lay still and silent….never wanting it to end.

Joy…to my world….

•December 11, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I have to quiet the world, my new world, just to write this much. I have to pretend that she is a dream that I awoke from, that is not in the next room…in reach…just to begin to convey the things in my mind, my heart. But then that isn’t the reality, and my body knows it.

So it is hard, no matter how I feel……no matter how inspired…..to write about the things I feel, the things I know she longs to hear from me….our poetry.

God brought me here (I still feel undeservedly) to know this joy…….

 

 

Smooth are the river beds

where once torrential rivers flowed

Calm are the seas

that threatened to swallow me

Peaceful are the winds

no longer capable of stripping the landscape

Soothing are the rains

…for now they are meant to be danced in…meant to be enjoyed, not dreaded.

The mountains have pulled their head from the clouds

shed the deep snow, softened their edges…becoming accessible, not unconquerable…not impossible.

And a contentment I never imagined possible,

dreamy and fluid in its nature…changing, shifting like the sand along the shore….

embraces my soul, envelopes my life…..teaches me to smile again.

Allows it.

 

5:30….damn alarm clock…

•December 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I have found that I actually love for the alarm clock to go off in the morning. Not because it means I have to go to work, but because it gives off a soft blue light.

That light, tiny and quite dim, brushes across the woman between it and I. It creates shadows across some curves, highlights others with such clarity….the symmetry of her…it captivates me.

Most mornings, I will pull back the quilt so that I can see her….so that I can trace the lines and watch as she moves to meet that touch….she moves – creating new shadows, new highlights….often even more exhilarating than the last……exquisitely beautiful….

She must be able to see me smiling in that light too. It must unmask the love, the amazement I feel at the fact that she is there….the hunger – the need to just hold her, to envelope her with all that I am against the coming day…

I see my hands – these rough and tired hands – allowed to know the softness of her in that light…to be blessed to feel that perfection….to know such beauty…..to feel her loving me……to feel life!

I inevitably keep her from being on time, which is kind of funny…it was the alarm clock – the signal to get on up and head to work that started it all!

Now, I realize that blaming that light for my inability to allow her to leave me each morning would not be a good defense….but then I really don’t care….

And to think…I used to really hate a freaking alarm clock!!!

Biscuits….

•November 30, 2011 • Leave a Comment

 

 

Bark, bark, bark…that is all that I heard until she walked in from the bathroom where she had been getting ready for work.

Bark.

I watched her sipping the coffee I had made for her as she absently turned pages….

Bark.

….turned pages on a catalog that came in the mail yesterday. I am slowly eating the first biscuit I had fixed for myself. It is much more bitter than I imagined it would be. Not really good at all.

Now and then, she looks toward me and smiles. She is so beautiful, everything I ever dreamed there could be in a woman. My perfect woman, my soul mate….my lov…

Bark.

….my love. The reason I smile, the reason I made it this far. God, the way she looks at me! It erases the noise, the outside…almost everything bad in my life. Almost…

Bark.

I look to the door, in the direction of the sound. I guess she senses my uneasiness and comes over to hug me.

I love the way she feels, the way she smells when she is happy…when she thinks everything is ok and that the world is fine. She lingers in my arm as long as she can, the appropriate amount you might say…

Bark.

…long enough to let me…

Bark.

…think I matter. Then she lets go, smiles to me and walks toward the door. I take a bite of the second biscuit, the last biscuit, as she grabs her coat and opens the door.

Bark. Bark. Bark.

I say I love you. She smiles. She says bye, have a nice day.

Bark. Bark, bark, bark, bark.

Well, at least the dog knows how I feel. Bark away….just keep…

Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark.

…on barking. I know how it feels to not be heard, to live in complete silence.

This biscuit is worse than the first, but I am starting to get numb. I don’t even feel the normal hurt of knowing she….

Bark, bark! BARK, bark, bark, bark!

….that she will be in his arms. That the trip for work isn’t real. That she goes to….

Bark, bark….

….him.

…………………..God, she is beautiful.

I am tired….think I will go lay down…..no one is going to notice…

Bark…

….well, she might. But someone will feed her eventually….

 

 

….from the beach….happy thanksgiving….

•November 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I am sitting on the balcony of a condo in Fort Walton, Florida watching the eastern sky change colors…from darkness to the most beautiful shades of orange, pink and blues….it is absolutely beautiful. The light warming the morning air, the soothing sound of the ocean steadily drifting to shore calming my thoughts….I am blessed to have been given another day on this earth….

The parallels with this moment and with my life are not lost on me…this day, my first Thanksgiving day with my Joy. Not for one second.

I have spent many years living in darkness, filled so deeply with it at times that it threatened to consume me. Such oppressive sadness on some nights that I would cower against the back of the couch and pray for the day to end….for the sun to stop rising…wanting it all to just stop! But those prayers went unanswered and I kept trudging through it all.

This year….easily could have been the worst of my life. So many sweeping changes, so many emotional lows….so much change….I thought “too much!”….what had I done wrong to deserve the things that were happening….then it all clicked with me…

In order to truly appreciate the sunrise, to truly understand the light of a new morning, it must be preceded by the darkest of nights. For the oranges, pinks and shades of blue to grab you…to hold you on the edge of tears…to cause you to shake against that new day….it must come from (seemingly) nowhere to touch you.

This year, it rose for me. The years of night I had endured….blindly stumbling through that darkness….were immediately washed from my life. It came screaming over the horizon and brought me the most amazing colors….thank you….and with it a calmness that I had only imagined the sound of waves being capable of giving to me….

No…the parallels of this morning are not lost on me. And I have so many things to be thankful for…so many…and I am.

………with the new sunrise, I gained new family….Hannah, Amanda, Bob; amazing young adults…met my sisters in law and their families…new parents….had my brother stand up for me at my wedding….

….spent the summer free with my daughter, our last before her senior year…hopefully not our last. I learned what a wonderful and giving person she is, that she can be more selfless than I had hoped…..to the point that she has helped me to want to be more so myself.

….and learned what love is. Not what I had always mistaken for love…what it feels like to finally feel like you belong somewhere without self medicating, without begging, without fighting….without having to sacrifice a part of me, changing me….to just be in love!

 

It has been a GREAT year….I have been truly blessed….I have been given gifts that I do not deserve…that I am ashamed to accept, but I do so with a promise to do what I can to be worthy of them….to be truly thankful.

 

anyway……..Happy Thanksgiving Day to you all………..

…………oh yeah……….blowing off the traditional Thanksgiving and coming to Florida…………HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!!!!

It’s all good…

•November 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The sewing machine is running just to my left. It is making a quilt for the newest edition to her family, our family…a nephew, Blake. He is a beautiful little boy who has many days until his first step and I pray that it will be in the right direction always once he starts walking. I wish for him a strong and true compass that always points away from the darker side of this world.

On the wall to the right, is a quilt my grandmother made and gave to my mother. I have had it forever and my Joy hung it on the wall. Honestly, I think it is ugly but she loves the connection of family…the new children, the older memories; life. Realized I never called her grandmother, always Thelma….and I wish I could see her today and correct that…one day I will meet her again and let her know.

I am sitting between the two, the new quilt and the old….thinking about today, the kids living with us…..my daughter, her daughter and their similarities; their differences….what I can do to help them both. What I can do to show them both how much I care, how much I want to help, I want to give…to share. Not sure that either truly appreciates what it is going to be like when they find themselves on a Saturday morning…somewhere between two quilts (when they realize they are already between two quilts). Right now, neither understands how short it is, how important it is to live each second – to love without judgment or fear.

If I could give all of our children any gift in the world, I wouldn’t make their lives easy or pile money before them, that would take the magic of the journey away, the true meaning in my opinion….I would let them all glimpse inside my heart; let them feel just how much love I have for my wife, them, for this world…for life…and tell them to not get caught up in the BS that inevitably finds us all…especially when we are younger. Hopefully impart what it took me years to learn….it is all good, even when it is bad!

Anyway….sitting here (I realized that I am) between the two quilts. Not sure which I am closer to, but I can tell you I hope it isn’t the one on the wall….I have years and years I still want to spend under a quilt….on Saturday mornings….Sunday mornings…Mon…well, you get it…

Aware…….not beware….way better..

•November 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment

My mind has become more clouded, less focused on the day. Storms spitting bolts of lightning, creating roaring thunder, roll back and forth across thoughts; destroying them, leaving only fragments behind. The sun peeks through during the day but only long enough to tease with its false hope before the rain washes its light from sight.

Each flash blinds me, the booming aftermath driving me to cower in the corner; face down, uselessly screaming to drown it out. Helpless, this word echoes again and again during the seconds of silence; the few seconds before it rages again…..helpless….completely helpless.

STOP! PLEASE STOP!

A hand reaches across me, touching my shoulder. A voice comes pushing through the crowded space, brushing the clouds and squashing the noise as it brushes the rain across my face.

“Why do you do this? You know what is happening.”

Hands unclench, teeth loosen their force against each other….no smile yet, but it will come again…it was not lost forever in the wasted time…

I recognize the voice as myself.

I have reached out – to me – with a strength that God gave me….and taken control of the anger that threatened to destroy everything I know….everyone I know.

 

Had a dream about the guy I used to be…the guy I am still capable of being. Don’t know why, but I was blind, raging mad….and dangerous. Dangerous.

Hard to say that about yourself, very hard to say, but that is what it takes to deal with those burdens…or more accurately…those weaknesses in me. I have to accept the things I cannot change…but have the courage to change the things I can. Courage to admit that I need to help myself….and then be strong enough to swallow pride, ask forgiveness of myself – then forgive myself (very hard at times)………but even harder to commit and follow through on a plan to supervise the place inside that allows it to happen. Those dark corners would be easy to close the door on…lock it up and pretend they don’t exist….hide….

I prefer those dark corners, thoughts, to be exposed….in the middle of the room as I have aged – placed in lighted areas where I can be aware of any subtle changes, monitor their existence…..because once created, they never cease to exist….those thoughts and feelings just eat life, trying to build strength and break free again…..or so it was for me.

Anyway……….sitting on the couch, the dogs are trying to get back in…….my feet are cold….a warm and beautiful lady is laying about thirty feet away and I think I am gonna go wake her up…..with a kiss….or two….or three….the dream is gone….and she sees the bad in me but feels the possibilities and reminds me to breathe…..to just be some days….and I think I need to be right now……need to be with her…………

tired of fighting…….

•November 17, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Couldn’t sleep last night, a bad dream pushed me from it. I tried to remember what it was, but as is too often true it eludes me. But that isn’t why I couldn’t sleep.

In the past, I would wake from dreams…crawl from the bed and sit watching some bad tv or writing something even worse. But last night I rolled from one bad dream to the reality of my life….the reality of where I was.

I am married to my best friend.

I am married to a beautiful woman, on the inside as well as the outside…an amazing woman who sees past my bs to me….and accepts me.

I am married to a woman filled with passion for life…and for others…who still sees beauty and mystery in the daily routine.

I am married to my greatest dream…the one I have had for countless years….a dream that was more of a feeling than a face…emotional more than visual….perfect in its simplicity and elegant in its tone.

And we can’t stop fighting. Every few days the same fight…..who has the freaking power!

A few years ago I was talking with an old friend about “he who loves the least has all the power”…and I tried to have that conversation with my wife. It has turned into a constant battle between us….well, not really a fight….there is no fight when it comes down to the truth here….I love her more!!! OK…that isn’t true, but I can’t back down now…we are finding ourselves to be equal in all we do.

Now the fact is, I couldn’t sleep because I always thought I was the one who loved the most, who gave the most…who sacrificed first…who never ran, never hid. …and I was. But last night, I rolled out of that dream and into her arms….and I realized that neither of us is going to win that argument….because we are both right….we love each other more than the other….more than the other has ever been loved….more than the other has ever been capable of loving….more than even our favorite dreams, wishes and hopes was capable of imagining….more than we ever felt….more…more…

So I lay there awake, just listening to her breathe…knowing that I had really just stepped through a doorway – from a bad dream to this one….where I always imagined myself going….and never thought possible.

…………and if any one wakes me from this one…I am kicking some ass.

Type damn it

•November 14, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Uncensored…that is what I am trying to be….unleashed may be a better descriptor. I have never wanted to be so sure of my words, never wanted them to be so real…new and fresh. I am struggling to let go and say exactly what I think because of that fear. My mind fills with thoughts, and my heart acknowledges them – validates them…but my hands hesitate to type them.

Are the words right…do they truly say what I feel?

Are the words too old, too used, too tired…have they seen too many miles?

Will they be seen with the translucent quality they have in my heart….so beautiful and pure, carefully wrapped in the genuine emotion that fills my life?

There are three words I wish I had never written before today. Although dumbass is not among them, it is the one that keeps drifting past me….I see it as one of those planes on the beach with the banner…back and forth, back and forth….

I ask God his reasoning, for putting things in front of me, things that mislead me…things that I thought I knew as the truth…and I know he is smiling. I will never understand why he couldn’t just bring me home, why he had to let me get lost in the weeds to find my sunflower….and I want to question it (were he/she here I would probably) but I think the smile would just broaden at the question….and I wouldn’t know any more than I do at this second….

“DumbAss”……the thesaurus is filled with them….the dictionary too….but none of them will fill….the way I feel about you….

Wait…………

I walked with my head down among the weeds….the occasional dandelion would catch my attention and cause me to pause…then inevitably, the breeze carried it out of sight, out of reach. The morning dew washing my feet, the afternoon sun drying them…the nights leaving me invisible…alone with the moonlight…with the dream of love; its elusiveness…crying to feel.

Then I woke to find myself face to face with a sunflower. There among the tall grass, the seemingly endless fields of green….smiling to me, inviting me to come closer….to sit…to listen to her playing music with eyes to the sky….leaning to shade me from the sun, even farther to cover me, to warm me in the night….wiping my tears….and sharing my dreams with me.

let me sleep again…….

•November 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I had forgotten the emptiness

Left behind the loneliness

Drifted softly from unhappiness

….tomorrow, it will all be as it should…..

But tonight, Michigan holds my love

And I remember…..all too strongly…too fully what it was like…

Before those twenty seven minutes, before that first kiss…

….before I finally understood what love truly meant….

….before the first time she smiled at me as my wife….

I keep trying to lay and sleep….but I reach out…..

To feel her, to softly run my hand across her shoulder….

….down her back….to kiss her on the back neck, just below her ear….

…to hear the sigh…

I knew the first night we were  alone that she was the perfect woman, thef eelings…the scent…the symmetry of her…the pure beauty of her curve, her softness….she is the woman I dreamt of, the woman I would wake crying – begging to sleep again just to hold….a constant lie I would hold inside…praying for God to bring to me…

….and now I remember the second I would wake….the second I realized she wasn’t there and the night had left me somewhere that happiness could only be an illusion….where I would pretend to be ok, to be alive….

When I would reach over….and nothing would be there……

The absolute emptiness and craving to have one more second…..

I have never wanted or needed anything so desperately as I need to feel her roll over and put her head on my shoulder.

I don’t know why it took us so long to get back home….to find each other outside of our dreams….but having done so makes the seconds apart seem an eternity…..

how do I get that white square where it belongs???

•November 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I have often found myself staring through a doorway into a space that
I didn’t really want to see.  Curiosity
drove me to first, seek out the door; then to open it.  Misguided needs…wants maybe?….drove me to
force open a sealed space – a door to things better off left closed.

Once the contents of this space have been “freed”, there is no putting
them back as they were…like a Rubik’s Cube to me….never quite the same once you
touch it?  But, opening these doors is
worse.  The cube can be placed on the table,
lost in a drawer or even tossed out the window as one might do to a magic 8
ball that gives you the wrong answer too many times (another story- another
time)…the things that reveal themselves from behind closed doors more often
than not leave permanent reminders, images not so easily discarded or lost as a
toy.

So why do we do it?  We are
intelligent beings, we are capable of learning….we know that the sound of
gnashing teeth and all that fucking wailing isn’t good?!?!?!  When the door is bowed out, there is no doubt
about the misery that lies just one turn of the knob away….no doubt that what
is causing that deflection is going to cause us pain….cause us to
suffer?!?!?  And still, we turn the
handle and pull.

There it is…………..everything we feared was there, is there – even if
not quite as bad, we perceive it as that bad….everything our mind imagined,
reinforced….our minds beaten by the incessant wailing that we knew existed…..images
burned into our hard disk….our internal cubes twisted, mixed and forever
changed….forever leaving that one white square away from the other 8, two green
ones with the yellow….the magic 8 ball unable to answer what were we thinking,
are we going to be ok…”ask again later” it says…..”cannot predict now”….

Our need, our hunger to know everything, our inability to truly put
our hearts, our bodies and our minds on cruise and let it be….to just live…..chases
us to that door, stands over our shoulder and says “it can’t be that bad, they
boarded it up just for shits and giggles…nothing to fear here!”….”come on
chicken shit…open it”….and we do.

Then your life, our lives, are left with choices……..face what you have
seen, deal with the knowledge your ass didn’t want…..get therapy (even if it is
internal to you personally) for the scars – new fears that it forces into your
life; an even greater thirst for another door to open to fix it….or to run
screaming into the night, scrambled cube spinning and twisting, no hope of ever
coming close to what it was.

Opened up that door………not Pandora’s Box thank God…….so sorting out my
cube….shaking that shit out of the 8 ball…….”ask again later”…..damn it…..

 

……”cannot predict now”……shit

……”signs point to yes”……thank you….

Putting it down…..stop with positive thoughts……………and move on…….

that I were a glove upon that hand….

•November 3, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I would sit in front of this screen and write for hours about love and what I thought it would feel like to know the romance movie kind of love.  I would close my eyes and imagine myself some character in a Nicholas Spark’s novel or deeply in love with a most amazing and awesome woman who knew me – believed in me; tasting the emotion, breathing the sounds, smelling the passion….trying to write a small paragraph to a dream I had over and over while lost in that persona. 

I even thought maybe, just maybe one day I would string together enough paragraphs, words and phrases to finish a novel that could be produced as a chick flick for those of us who are fans of them.  The once upon a time, happily ever after storyline from Cinderella….or more real and more beautiful than you feel in the words of an Elizabeth Barrett Browning sonnet.  Something that leaves you crying at the beauty of it all; longing to feel it for yourself….the kind of love that isn’t real on a Monday morning.

Now it seems almost impossible to do and I wish it made me sad…I wish I longed for that ability as I had for years. 

But my reality….well, I just finished aKlondikebar, she had one too….my world…she has her feet on my leg….my life…well…I try to write but it pales in comparison to the feeling of these feet against my leg.  I cannot begin to imagine a world more perfect than this….

Sometimes I struggle to say the words that come to me when I look at her.  They get tangled up somewhere between the want and the action with emotions that overwhelm them…overpower and expose their inability to express what I feel!!  Nothing can capture her and who she is to me.  Loving this woman has shown me how inept I really was at capturing what it would be like……touching her…..anyway….

Guess that is why I tried to back up to writing about candy corn man….if I wrote about any love I could imagine that is stronger and deeper than what I feel with this woman….my perfect love….it would sound too fake…too over the top….

 

so……………

 

the neighbor’s dog quietly looked at me as she backed out of the driveway.  I stooped behind the garbage can at the corner of the house until she drove up the road.  I saw her pushing the remote for the garage door just a little earlier than she had all week but still not soon enough to keep me from entering.  The door stopped as I rushed past the eye and to the button beside the door.  I pushed it, it closed and I went inside to wait for her.  It had been a long week watching her, but tonight would be worth the time for me.  I would show her what it was like to enjoy the misery of existence. 

She had been chosen.  The voice that directed me had called her out as she stood singing in the pew, just two ahead of mine over a month ago; then again two weeks ago.  I had waited for the second call, to be sure it was her. 

I found the refrigerator, inside a bottle of water and a jar of pickles.  I found them, then I walked to the couch and sat down to wait.

Where is the remote?

needed band aids….not salt…..

•November 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

It is hard for the deepest wounds to heal if they are not properly cleaned and dressed; left unattended, they can eventually poison the entire body.  Immediate care, not days after or years after….as soon as possible….is the best solution to insure healing.

I can remember as a child that I constantly pulled at the scab unless it was covered with a band aid and out of sight.  It even led to fairly serious infections because I just wouldn’t let it be, I just had to keep picking at it.  My body is covered with small scars where wounds were left to heal without any attention at all.

There is a place on my finger where I slammed it with a tobacco knife cutting dark tobacco in my late teens.  It probably needed stitches, maybe several…but I just wrapped it in paper towels and tape (yes, duct tape) and kept on going.  Later we drank some beer, got high and laughed bout how bad the cut had been. 

Today, that place on my finger has no feeling.  The knot and scar reminds me that it happened, that I had been cut deep…to the bone….but fortunately, there is no feeling…just a scar.

the last few months of my life, the most wonderful I have ever known have revealed to me scars from wounds that were much deeper than I ever realized.  I knew I had taken blows, been cut….even had a few scabs picked off again and again….but I did not have the capacity to realize their true severity.  I had no idea.

The things I allowed myself to be subjected to, thinking I was in a place I believed existed…knowing now that it does, because I am there!…..allowed to happen time and time again, cutting deeper and deeper….myself smiling the whole time “that doesn’t hurt, that doesn’t hurt!”…never once stopping to properly dress the wounds, never taking the time for them to heal…allowing the scabs to be pulled again and again….have left me with deeper scars than that tobacco knife (at least it is numb), larger scars than falling on the metal pipes and seeing my kneecap in all its glory, uglier than my extended butt crack from the surgeries to repair even deeper wounds.  They have left scars that threatened to fester from inside, that cause me pain…that cause me to worry incessantly that the events that caused the wounds will happen again….and again….and damn it….again….they hurt in spite of attempts to ignore them.

The last two days.  I have cut them open again.  Performed some surgery on myself to relieve the pressure, to allow them to be examined, to see them for what they were at the time they occurred. 

They had festered, they smelled…they still do a bit….and it got on everyone around me.  It hurt to do it, it hurt me to see the effect that their being revealed had on my wife, my best friend…my everything.   These were my deepest wounds, my worst scars…my most painful….and she smiled.  She held me, she even tried to understand how severe they were….and I am fairly certain that she did…God, I am so thankful that you allowed me this! 

I am not sure they are properly dressed and perfectly clean yet.  But I have at least acknowledged they need attention.  I have begun the process of caring for them a new…and I have help; an amazing woman who refuses to let me pick at the scab…who my heart tells me will protect them until they heal….who will fight anyone who thinks it might be ok to re-open them.   I am finally (pretty sure) gonna be ok with the things that have caused me the most pain…and maybe one day…they will all be less noticeable than the spot where they pricked my finger and drew blood this week.

 

…………………….later…………

candy corn…

•November 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

he stood watching the crowd as they mingled, occasionally lifting a piece of candy corn from the left hand pocket of his jacket and placing it in his mouth when he was certain no one was watching. 

a flash of lightning was followed by darkness as the rain fell against the window just to his right, reminding him why he had stopped to come inside.  the crowd was silent for a minute, but the quiet quickly ended.

“guess that is the end of this party!”

“there is a generator outback.  let me go get it running.  everyone, just stand still for about five minutes.”

he glanced out the window, placing another piece of candy corn in his mouth as the sky lit up again.  the light tap on his shoulder caused him to jump.

“sorry, didn’t mean to startle you!”

he could see her as the lights slowly flickered on.  she looked up to the fixtures, then back to him.

“guess we have lights again.”

he didn’t speak, just smiled to her.

“have any more of that candy corn in your pocket?’

he put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a small zip lock bag about half full of candy corn and offered it to her.

she took some, looked up to him and said thank you before moving back to her friends.  he watched her go, noticing that she looked across the room several times as she talked to the group.

the rain stopped after a few more minutes, so he headed out of the church and into the street; toward the city.  a voice stopped him at the bottom stair. 

“leaving already?’

he placed another piece of candy corn in his mouth as he turned to see that she had followed him.

“go back inside.  tonight is not your night.”

she walked down the stairs and held out her hand to him.

“can I have another piece?”

he again held out the bag, knowing that she had just made it her night to die.  she noticed it was almost empty.

“guess you can’t spare any?”

he pulled it back, giving her one more chance to change her fate.

“go back inside.” 

she reached out and grabbed his arm.  he shuddered against the touch.

“who are…….wha….”

she smiled at him, never letting go.

the bag dropped to the ground and she frowned for a second, then a tear formed in the corner of her eye.

“I guess they don’t let you have a lot of candy corn in where you are from?”

he dropped to his knees.

“who are you….what are yo…..”

“shhhhhh.  only a few more seconds and you will be on your way home.  you didn’t think we would let you reach the city did you?”

he was starting to fade, but asked one more time.

“who are you?”

the last  thing he saw was her smile again.

“I am here to save you from you.  I am here to help you to know a different path…..I am what you needed tonight.  what the world needed tonight.”

she looked up to the sky as the last bit of him faded. 

“take care of him.  help him to see.”

then she turned and walked into the night.

try to write….oh well….too high….

•October 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

In the dark, I can believe that I am the man she thinks me to be….because I can not see the reminder of the man I was…I can not see me. 

In the dark, I can be the guy I am inside…the man I have struggled to find, fought to carve from the experiences that threatened to destroy my heart….I can be me.

In the dark, I sit here typing as she softly breathes…..her last words tonight….just reach over and touch me, don’t forget I am here……

….in the dark….is not where I live any longer….but where I spend my nights, building up for the first time I see her face….the smile….the exhilaration as she rolls into me and whispers I love you…..

….where I rest awaiting my sun….my light. … in the dark….unable to comprehend ever forgetting her….unable to believe that I lived at all before our first conversation….

….so soft…..don’t forget I am here……really!?!?!?!?

 

I lay here some nights and try to write some silly story, or maybe a chapter in a book…but I keep coming back to touch her…thinking of how I ended up next to this amazing woman….

 

been thinking a lot about my year….how much I accomplished professionally before May, just to be let go.  The three months of searching for answers, definitions to explain the way I felt, the metamorphosis that was occurring in my mind as I walked the days away…searched for jobs that seemed less and less important.  My short time making stoves…meeting her and the fact that we went from people who knew who each other was to husband and wife….now back supporting the product that I helped to maintain, change for so many years.

Been quite the ride to say the least…..quite the ride….now cruising on a high that is far better than any drugs I ever tried……with my…..

 

………soul mate…….she asked if I believed in soul mates…yes…

….asked what I thought a soul mate was…….I can only smile at mine…..reach out and touch her as she sleeps….and let her know that there is no way on this earth that I could ever forget she is here…..

….wish I could hold her hand and she feel the completeness in me that never existed….the only way I know to define what believing that God made me for her feels like….our souls finally home with each other…….really woman!!!!  forget you are here????

God…thank you for letting me learn…

•October 22, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Man, I just thought to myself…I am getting married soon!!!  So if I ramble…well, cut me some slack…but I have to throw a word out to some people…….just cause….

 

Acceptance is one of the more challenging words in my vocabulary.  It is extremely difficult to achieve, extremely difficult to teach…even more difficult to live.

Everything from accepting praise – easier than a lot of things – to accepting others feelings about you; accepting that there are things you cannot change.  Life beyond ourselves, beyond what we perceive as important.  Learning that walking in another’s shoes for a second or two still doesn’t allow us to understand how they fit.

My life, my life as a young man…as an angry man….made it impossible to come to terms with much.  Now that I am older, now that I understand some of what is important…now that I kinda get it on a good day….I am able to step outside of my selfish needs and gain perspective.  I can accept the feelings of others, I can accept the anger and frustration of others…but most important…I can accept who I am.  I can accept the things that leave me feeling less confident, that leave me feeling less that I should…the things I used to shy from, the “me” that was.

Today, I am going to stand face to face with the most amazing woman.  I am going to take her beautiful hand, I am going to look into her eyes and promise my forever.  I am going to pray as I say I do that she sees me for who I might be, that she sees me for who I pray God will allow me to be for her.  I pray with each breath that she accepts my faults as the days will pass.  I love her so much!

I am going to accept her love, I am going to cherish her gentle heart…I am going to care for her, protect her…I am going to make sure she knows on the bad days that I am trying to be more, be better. 

And she is going to say I do because we didn’t meet before I knew, before I could accept, before I could stand examining myself – all my demons, all my fears, all my sins laid before me….and while maybe not fully dealt with….at least acknowledged. 

I am also going to hope that others see me standing next to her and find some way to accept us.  That others learn to believe in us….in our acceptance of each other, our forgiveness, our ability to share all that we are with those around us.

We are not brand new, we are two souls on the scratch and dent aisle.  We have hurt, been hurt…grown weary of hurt….and have been directed together, made for each other – shaped by our separate paths to be the same, to be one….pointed to this day, to this time. 

And I accept that.  I accept that I do not understand why, but I do know that it is to be and I refuse to fight it…refuse to be swayed….refuse to turn. 

 

It is 2:22 on Saturday October 22, 2011 and before this day is out, I will be forever linked to the person God made for me.  And I graciously accept her, her family and all that is her life…..and she will accept me, because I have been blessed.

 

And I write this hoping that you will find somewhere, some level that you can accept it too.  That you grow to understand….as time passes and she and I smile to you, to you all….that you see, that you finally see.

wish i understood…

•October 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I don’t blame anyone really.  they don’t know.  they have never sat beside us as we lay discussing our days, our tomorrows. 

not one of them was with us in Gatlinburg, or Riverfest…no one sat beside us on the dead end road where we picnicked during lunch inSpringfield; or when we sat beside the river watching the Korean dancers

no one has heard how we reason…how we discuss the issues that have arisen – some that cause us great discomfort as we learn each other…or the planning for our later years…the picking of insurance, beneficiaries; amounts to contribute to 401K plans to insure comfort for us both.

not one of them feels what I do as I watch her brush her teeth, watch her put on her make-up…the complete satisfaction that comes when she walks up behind me as I cook – as she puts her arms around me and rubs her cheek across my back.

they have never tasted her words, her I love you as she speaks to me in the dark…never heard her laugh with me – never felt what her smile does to me.

 

…….I wish they could.  I wish anyone who doubts us, anyone who continues to question the sincerity of us….I wish they could sit for two seconds and know what we feel as we stare at each other, smiling without lips moving; loving without words.

I wish they all could so they would quit giving her shit!! 

 

but would they recognize in us what we see in each other? 

could they be selfless long enough, or would they continue to search for crumbs on the floor to pick up and say “look…this is how my world went bad…this is how (insert someone’s name whose life went wrong) life went!  it will happen to you”?

 

choices….we all have choices….and regardless of your interests, regardless of your fear, regardless of your issues…….we have chosen each other.  as intelligent adults with consideration for all aspects of OUR lives.  we are making choices for today, for tomorrow…for OUR forever. 

 

and day after tomorrow……we will be married in front of those who see and those who at least are willing to respect that fact…maybe not all agree…they may not understand (for they have never felt our heart, never sat watching us just be!) OUR motives or agree how strong it is….but those who come will at least  – at a minimum – respect that we are old enough to chose OUR path, to choose OUR lives…

 

nothing is going to stop it……..nothing is going to move us to abandon what we know is right….nothing.

 

……………….sorry……..tired……..frustrated………..sad……..sad for those who will miss out on her happiness, her wonderful heart…..I would rather stop breathing than to miss one smile……but then I have been there….I have been touched by  her love…..and maybe I was made for her….not sure….but I am lucky that she thinks so…and nothing could ever sway me……..day after tomorrow…….I will promise myself to her….forever……and I keep my promises.

•October 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment

He smiled at her with such love.  And she the same at him as their possibilities, hopes and dreams danced around them to their music, their love. 

I watched, a voyeur, mesmerized by the pureness of it all…the freedom of young and un-bridled love…the sweet blindness that comes as two people are lost, so totally oblivious to those around them; to the world. 

And I wish them happiness….long lives filled with love….understanding for the days where life is a bit tougher….forgiveness for the times that understanding didn’t come….and I hope they look back…on those days when it is a bit tougher…and remember what it felt like to stand alone in a crowded room and give themselves to each other.

To my new family……Amanda and Garth…….congratulations.

face down….

•October 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

It is kinda late and I should be sleeping, but I am thinking about Saturday.  She can tell me within a half a second how long it is to the time we are married and all I can think is that I will be a blubbering fool trying to say the vows I have written….twenty seven or more times….hope I don’t get fired…think the latest version is on my computer….dang it…

……………………

 

In the seconds between night and day, I used to struggle to stay with the dream of her; the one.  She would lay back on the couch, looking at me….faceless…but with such feeling and emotion that I would wake crying….at times having to lie about why I woke in the morning with tears in my eyes to others.  Never admitting that I had just been with the woman I longed for, that I had just found a love so unimaginable in the world where I could not stay. 

In that world, that place where I live my greatest fears…live some of my deepest wounds again and again…I had always come back to her.…and her body….her feel….

 

Now I am about to marry that dream.  She would punch me in the forehead if I wrote how I am so certain it is her….unmistakably her, despite her hesitation to believe that I dreamt of her for years….but it took one night, one glance…and my mind forgot to breathe as I realized that instead of fighting to sleep….I could wake up at anytime without tears….that the tears would come when I tried to explain the love I feel, how it hangs behind the emotion of knowing, of having seen that dream…having looked down on her and knew it was her…that she is perfect.

And this amazing woman thinks she is the lucky one………that I was made for her…..

 

……………………………………….reciting vows…….I am going to be unable to breathe….unable to speak…one of those bad episodes of funniest home videos when my big ass passes out and I fall face first onto the floor is playing through my mind just thinking about it…I can see it now, all the phone cameras clicking and flashing….600000 hits the first day on you tube….

 

………………..she makes me smile……she makes me feel alive….and she really thinks she is the lucky one….

•October 11, 2011 • Leave a Comment

 

I wonder the miles these feet have walked

the tears they have felt

the laughter that has echoed across them

the bumps, the hills…the slipping, falling

I marvel at the fact they led her to me…

…that they often caress mine…

that she wants to spend the rest of her life…

…our lives…

…walking beside me…..

sharing the quiet time tapping to her music…

…to her song…

….to the music our hearts will create…

and I welcome each step we will take together….

it is not a stove dang it…..

•October 11, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Woke up.

Showered.

Ready for work…..but I don’t rush off to work anymore. 

This morning I sat watching her put stuff in a crock pot for later…….sat thinking about how wonderful she looks in those pants….sat thinking about the 22nd….us married….

I told her that I felt different not rushing off to work.

She said “What? Taking time to enjoy life?”

I smiled.  She always makes me smile.

I was enjoying the morning. 

Watching her….not rushing to a place that should always fall lower in my priorities than I have always made it. 

Just being. 

The house is quiet now because she is gone to work and her daughter is sleeping, mine is at her grandmother’s.  And I am still smiling because I know she will be coming home soon…I will be coming home soon. 

Her son is coming to dinner tonight; my first chance to meet him.  Her Aunt also.  I will be meeting all of her family this weekend and I am nervous.  Very nervous.

My life has changed so drastically, so dramatically…and quickly.  It has not all been easy.  There are so many things that have come with the changes….

My daughter has had to give up her space….her daughter has had to adjust to new family in the house…..I am proud of them both for appreciating the fact that we are so much in love and that us becoming a new family was the only choice we had.  I know it is a struggle for them both…such a struggle at times….but we will find a way to make it all work…we will work together, talk together….hopefully all love together – they are all so amazing in their own ways….

My love had to give up closet space…and listen to me snore……she has had to adjust to my food choices, my junk….me…

And here I sit. 

Knowing that my life will never be the same either. 

The last five months have been the wildest roller coaster ride of my life, to be sure….but I have learned one thing.  I truly believe on thing…..it is ok to just be some days.

I love my new family, my new life…I finally feel that I have a place…that I belong somewhere.  That I will wake up every day to smile….that I can sit here knowing the clock is ticking over the stove (range – funny story)….and I can sit here for twenty more minutes and the world will be ok.  I can even be late to work, and it will still get done.  I can stop for a pepsi on the way…no honey bun (maybe one today)….and my life will be a bit fuller…

 

……because I took the time to enjoy life.  

 

God she makes me smile.

 

Hope you all take a few minutes to just be…it will be there when you get there…and if not……que sera….

exposed…

•October 9, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Went to church this morning.

No, it didn’t collapse or expel me with forces like you might see when you watch a movie and some demon enters…..I was welcomed.

Breaking a rule here….religion.

The sermon was about breaking down the walls….more succinct…it was about god exposing who we are….or my interpretation……facing who we are, accepting who we are and not hiding behind facades.  Being real and the best we can be….being God’s children.

First off…anyone who knows me at all will struggle to visualize me in church…second…to repeat what I heard…sooooooo not me….but something about today reminded me of me…or of the journey to me…

Few scriptures on God working through others to reveal his way…on “exposing us” through what some might consider chance….but telling us who or how to be without smacking us on the head.  turning on the light…..

 

hmmmmmmm…….I think too much.  I worry too much, and am fairly sure that I am not a devout Christian, or even a back sliding one…just a guy.  But I have learned to trust those moments when something happens to let us know that we are…let’s say busted…a moment where we are pulled from a closet and into an open field.  Exposed for who we truly are, for what we truly are….where we must confront the image of ourselves.  Never thought of it as God…really still hesitate to use the word freely, his name…but I do say this world, or something in this universe guides us….

I found ways out of addiction, of dealing with anger, of facing fears…..found ways to live again, to be able to trust again….and recently to love, to truly love.  All because some act, some occurrence drove me out of hiding.  All because a word from a friend, a stranger….even some stupid song on the radio pulled the light switch…..dragged me across and into the open. 

I wasn’t even considering sitting in a church when I stopped doing meth, coke…I wasn’t even aware of the events that drove me to it until years later…but now I remember them

….the events that led me to reading a book on anger by a tich naht hanh, the girl on the elevator holding the book, her at the pool reading it – smiling toward me – then walking through a bookstore only to see it from across the store; buying it…..

…the nagging voice that said go to the front page deli – the need to listen in spite of me; now I will be married to the most wonderful woman…

Ok…not sure what I am trying to say…just kinda been riding my brain all day and sometimes the only way I know to get things off of it is to write them down….

….shit…the way I found this release, the events that caused me to create a blog, to let others read, to listen to their comments and help me grow more….

 

……………………also thinking about what I can do to make me even better, how I can live as an even better person….help more…..thinking, thinking…..thinking….

 

………….hmmmmmm.

two weeks….let’s do it now…while I can talk…

•October 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I don’t know what will happen between now and the sunrise.  Nor do I spend much time thinking about it.

What I consider is the second I am in.  Now.

I hear the shower running and can imagine the water flowing across her.  I can feel its excitement.  I know its joy at touching my Joy.  I am almost jealous…maybe just so envious….angry that it thinks I am willing to share her, but still smiling knowing that she is mine…as I am hers.

Last night I came home and she handed me the most wonderful gift.  She had taken things I had written since we met, some Facebook statuses and pictures and had them placed in a book for us to remember the first chapter in our life.  Our beginning….the start of my tomorrows….the truth of my now.

The most amazing and beautiful gift.

She makes me smile…always.

 

I had written some vows for our wedding, some words to express how I felt…some words to let her know that in two weeks from today I am willing to promise myself to forever be here…in the now with her.

As each day passes, as each second of the clock flows and takes me away from time to spend in her arms….I feel that they are so inadequate….frivolous almost. 

It tells our story a bit and how I feel, but it promises too little.  It only promises that I will be here, that I will love her….not that I will defend her against anything, anyone…that I will cherish each and every moment, even those we spend in discontent because we have not fully learned each other…that I will look at her with such love when she isn’t looking, when she is, when she sleeps I will watch her breath and revel in the knowledge that while I do not deserve her – I thank God for the opportunity, for his blessing….for my Joy.  For now.

I also know that I will never be able to speak the words out loud to her….some days I am so overcome just trying to tell her that I love her, that she is so special to me…but I will struggle through and we will be married…and my life will never be the same…and for that I thank God also….

She takes my breath when she looks at me, when she looks through what the world sees….who everyone else knows…and sees me, the man I pray I can always be when she looks toward me.  I see her glow, I see her smile….even without even the slightest twitch in her lips, she smiles…and I can’t catch my breath….and she doesn’t even know how overpowering those moments are to me…she is amazing. 

But I know she is going to look at me that way as I try to say those words…and I am going to struggle to find enough air to stand, much less talk…….

 

…………………..anyway……….just had to write this morning…..nothing to say really….just needed to do something with my hands beside touch her for a few minutes…now…that my mind is failing to continue…guess I will go get in the shower……

shake it all about

•October 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Woke up this morning and found myself immersed in conversation with a beautiful lady who challenges me with ideas, possibilities.  We discussed why we were together, why we deserve to be here so in love…you know, what did we do right…what brought us together….thoughts like that.

Then my mind, being what it is, working how it does, went to the thought – what are we supposed to do, to accomplish together?  Since we found ourselves sitting at Jammin in the alley one night and engaged the next (not quite that fast, but close), what was the intent of the force that put us there? 

 

Until a few yeas ago, I didn’t really think about why we were here….you know, is the hokey pokey what it is all about or do we serve some higher agenda that is bigger than we can comprehend?  Then I found myself reading the Bible and books or literature on other religions after months of wondering and wandering…and started to feel that life is more than putting your left foot in, your left foot out….more than turning around and around going through the motions.  I felt that we were here for a reason….even if the reason were to search for truth, for enlightenment…to experience it all.

Enlightenment……going to grab the Buddhist (loose) definition to explain the thoughts in my head today…the conversation……..

 

a final blessed state marked by the absence of desire or suffering

 

She and I talked about what reasons we may be here together, what is the plan for our union….what does the world, the universe have as its motive for blessing us with each other….and this amazing woman told me such wonderful things.  She made me aware with one sentence that it may be as simple as teaching our children what it is like to love, to be in love.  That maybe it is just to show them that what they have learned to date from us, from our relationships or past, is not how people love….it is not how to be involved with others, how to treat others….maybe we have been given a chance to teach them how amazing real love can be…maybe to be the best grandparents for their kids….maybe not, but she made me feel such joy at the thought. 

As I wiped the tears knowing that this lovely lady understands that I needed to hear that, that she gets what I feel….she is what I feel, she is everything I ever imagined possible…. my mind raced away…..to the other questions I have inside of me….and the answers I crave…we all crave.  

But do I really want the answers?  If I had truly become aware of my purpose, of our purpose….could I still know the mystery of who we are to each other?  Would there still be pleasure in touching, kissing and exploring?  Would the sunrise hold the significance it had the days we spent in the cabin with our children?  Would the thrill of hearing her breathing beside me as I roll over to watch her in the night as she dreams of….gonna imagine me, or the possibilities for us….still hold me breathless? 

Enlightenment….illumination….the light comes on that reveals the secrets, the answers…the purpose and all the explanations for why, why not, when, how….the meaning of life and love……what would it cost to truly understand? 

Then the questions…..the new questions….would God thrill at the lightest finger stroke across her back or would he see it as insignificant?  If he felt her catch her breath against his kiss, would he marvel that such a wonderful creature would find him worthy of his touch….would he know the racing heart, the strength that comes from her love?  Would a Buddha find happiness in holding her hand as they walked through the mall to a movie….would her laughing send lighting from head to toe as she threw popcorn at him?  Or would their knowledge of being, of existence erase the magic?

The magic…..the magic…..the wonder of it all…..the desire….even the suffering allows us to enjoy the gifts that are life….

While it is hard for me to just be, to stop wondering about the whys, the why nots…I think for now I will just do the hokey pokey….I am gonna put my left hand in….shake it all about and see what happens…..

 

 

a butterfly changed my life…..forever.

•September 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Well……what a year this has been. 

 

I woke in the arms of a beautiful woman who only months ago I would never have imagined would be my wife soon….I lost my job, had several offers…accepted one, worked a month….was offered a job back where I had been let go….quit a job like I have never done before (but as I had always dreamed)….start a new job on Monday – back where I was in May…did I mention the amazing woman who was beside me this morning?  How wonderful it is to feel that “click” as she presses herself so close that we only have atoms between us??

I have been truly blessed with gifts that I am not sure I deserve, but I humbly accept them.

I have taught my daughter, and all that would listen, that hard work and dedicated effort…honesty and integrity…love unrestrained….and trust – in people, in the world – will bring opportunities….  In May I wasn’t sure what was in store for me, that all that I believed was true…I wasn’t sure that I cared…I knew it would be ok, the world gives us what we need, but this?!?!?!?!? 

 

For the last three days, I have watched her sleeping (unable to sleep till I had a firm start date at the big T) and I have questioned if I ever truly loved.   I had thought so, and with my daughter’s mom…I am certain I did in some ways….but what I feel with each breath, with each second that comes closer to our wedding….what I feel just to see her walk in each day, how amazing she is as she gets ready for work….the selflessness with which she lives and doesn’t seem to realize it….my God, I have to thank you before I write another word….the life I see for us, with her….the silly things that have always meant so much to me, but never to others – they are important.  I am loved, truly loved and I feel it!!!   I know that this is very different than anything I have experienced….more than what I had been mistaking for love.

The friends who have learned that I am coming back to work, their encouraging words…their respect, my respect for them and our relationships…how wonderful it is to learn that being honest and trusting and working hard does carry the rewards I had thought so important!!!  To know that we “got” each other, that no matter the tests along the way, in the end we are friends…..once again, blessed!

My beautiful daughter, her beautiful daughters and son….the blending of families, the opportunities for new friends, neighbors….I never imagined when I walked out the door on the 17th of May that such a small action….a butterfly flapping it’s wings….would so dramatically change my life and give me new perspective, give me the chance to start over once again, to rebuild and recreate me….put me in a position to be at the Front Page Deli on the19th….now again on the 22nd……..to realize the true meaning of love, selfless and unrelenting love!!! 

I know I am rambling, but I woke this morning filled with such a need to let some of this out of my head…it was hurting me to hold it all in!!!!!!!

 

I wish I could hug all of you and say thank you for being there…I wish I could bottle up a bit of what I feel now and give it to those who are struggling to believe that tomorrow is gonna be a bit better….I wish I had known…

 

…..no….I don’t.  I don’t wish I had known anything.  I needed to take the path I did to truly appreciate the blessings….even if it sucked a bit…even if I don’t fully know what I did to deserve this……

 

well…gotta go pull some weeds….until Monday I am still technically a kept man…..and loving it….

confused…distracted….rambling…

•September 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

supposed to be writing vows.  it is hard to write when you already promised yourself long before you even asked.  very hard to find the words to promise forever when I  feel that forever is already given…when the love and comfort in my life is so effortless….when I wake each morning to touch her, to see her smile and hear her tell me she loves me and not for one second doubt the reality of those words.  When the touch of her skin, the paths that I follow…when just the lightest touch on her face elicits the response, the joy in my Joy….how can I promise anything to better that! 

I have given myself heart and soul, long before I knew it, to this amazing woman.  On our first real date, my big mouth betrayed me and let her know how I felt…by the weekend in Gatlinburg, we knew that there was no choice for us but to spend forever together…we were made for each other…with that knowledge…with that certainty in our hearts…what can I promise to this woman?

We were talking…she told me she thought maybe we had come back from heaven to see if we could find each other again…and it feels that way to me.  All the days till we talked for the first time, alone…all the people who passed, who we loved, who we lost for one reason or another….preparing us, moving us toward each other….a force bigger than either of us…then in an instant…I knew her. …maybe she is right…sure feels like it.

 

I wrote this stupid thing to my dream, to a dream I used to have.  Here is a bit of it….

 

 

my soul met yours

and knew itself

for the first time

among the endless rebirth

.

 

……………..and having written those words long ago, I never knew their real meaning to me, their emotion….but now, I do.  My soul met itself….and it was her. 

 

 

How do I write vows for that…….how do I promise to be anything for her?  She is perfect, so perfect for me….all I can offer in return is me!!!  Me….flawed…..me too long without her….me with my history, my pains, my stories…..

she gives me everything I ever needed, ever wanted…she gives me hope, happiness, love without boundaries, without hesitation…without question….without judgment….God….my perfect….

 

damn……she just kissed me….and I touched her face….and she just fucking glows….like the sun shines….like the full moon rises in the darkness….then she smiled and told me she loved me….and I am not sure what to write, but I know that I have found myself…and that I love her more than I ever thought it was possible to love…..and that what ever I promise to her……whatever I offer….it is only a fraction of what I want to give her, what she deserves….only a taste of the guy I hope to be for her……

 

well……..think for tonight…I will just stop trying and let her curl up against me…then write the feelings that come from that??….the need to have that forever….to just be with her…..always.

 

either way…that kiss distracted me a bit……

….thank you…..

•September 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I found her in a beautiful red dress, shining through the falling ashes of old lovers.  Thinking no one watched, she danced with her face to the sky….barefoot and so beautiful.

The image of her, the contrast of her color to the grayness that surrounded her…surrounded us both.  There is no other word to use, beautiful.

Walking toward her, the flurry slowed; eventually stopping. 

Her smile warmed me as her delicate hands reached up to lightly dust the last of the ashes from my shoulders.

dancing wu li masters…….

•September 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The velvet softness of her back calms my racing mind as I rub an arm across her …she dreams of things I can not see…in the darkness I only hear the soft sighs as she moves closer…the way her breathing changes slightly, and for a second I am in heaven.  She moves closer each time I reach across to her…and I smile more knowing that with each second that is exactly what is happening to us…we are moving closer and closer to one…to a perfect song that we dance to….maybe only we can hear….but it is beautiful and magical.

In October, we are going to be married and I have never been this sure about a decision in my entire life…well, it was really no decision on my part….we were put together by something way beyond us…..

 

……….some of the story maybe…..I can’t sleep….got a new job….have to tell the people where I work that I am leaving….and gonna shock some folks where I am going….but….since I am a bit restless…..a bit of the story…those damn Dancing Wu Li Masters!!!

 

 

He walked out the door, just behind her.  It had been a long day and the ride home awaited them both.

Three steps behind, he watched her walk.  He had no idea what she drove, but today the lot had been full and his car was parked in a different spot.

Two steps behind; one.

As they walked up the stairs to the upper lot, he found himself beside her.  His mind raced in time with his increasing heartbeat, as his imagination formed the image of what it would be like to just reach out and touch her arm; to hold her hand.

The wind blew her hair over her shoulder and he longed to kiss the exposed skin…his heart cried for him to just say something.

Anything.

He smiled, she smiled back.  Her car came first.

A glance over the shoulder to her….then to his car, he watched her drive away.

 

………………..

 

The email said lunch.  There was her name on the list.

Why not…

A few emails before the day…

kids – yes

dating – no

hi….nothing more.

 

Then lunch in a crowd.  He sat, glancing at her.  Trying to avoid her – still fighting with a ghost that haunted him, a past that followed.

Her  hair was pulled back over her shoulder and he longed to kiss the exposed skin…his heart cried for him to just say something.

Anything….

 

 

……………

 

The email said what is the alley?

Music…

My friend and I are going…want to meet there?

I guess….

 

He sat that Friday making excuses not to go…to avoid her.  Hoped someone would call with something to do…..anything….

 

…………………

 

He sat drinking a beer, his second or third….

She came through the door.  A silhouette with the bright sun as a backdrop, but he knew the walk.  He had walked three steps behind her and felt it, two steps…then beside her.

The beer poured quickly through his drying lips as he again wished he had found some excuse to not be here….

She sat beside him…reaching out…

He asked if she wanted a beer…

Her hand touched his shoulder….her beautiful hand touched his soul…he knew it would that day in the parking lot….

They moved to a table.

Two more beers (now she estimates it at twenty seven minutes) and he was in love with her.  He knew it. 

She didn’t, and he would never say.

They moved to a curb outside to listen to music. 

Yes, I love What Dreams May Come…..

No way….the Dancing Wu Li Masters????  Who knows the dancing Wu Li Masters???  On your phone now??

She pulled her hair back against the hot summer heat and he longed to kiss the exposed skin…his heart cried for him to just say something.

Anything…..

 

I can never be your friend…

But we could be extraordinary friends….

no………

 

……………………..

 

A young man proposed on the sidewalk less than fifty feet from them both…

 

You’ve got to be kidding me…..she looked up to God.  Really?!?!?

…….and he knew then, she loved him too.  In spite of her best efforts, in spite of all the reason and logic….

say something….anything….stop her from walking away………

she was in her car…I have to go…

ok….talk to you later….

I am not hugging you…

ok….talk to you later….???

 

———————————————————————-

 

A condensed portion of our story…more of an outline for the novel that is us….wish I could write the ending.  But that is the beauty of life.  We don’t know the outcome, nor do we know the direction we will be pushed, or what awaits us around the next turn…all we can do is trust.  Trust that the feelings inside of us, the people who come into our lives are there for a reason….that as I know she has been brought here, to lay beside me in my tiny piece of heaven…the world cares for us…gives us what we need. 

And on October 22 I will take her hand and together she and I will turn to a blank page and begin writing a new chapter in our story….one filled with hope and happiness…with love. 

 

God…she is beautiful…she is amazingly compassionate and giving….I don’t deserve her, but here she is.  I hope you know that I realize how truly blessed I am….. and the way her hair is laying off her shoulder now…the way she shifts as I lightly touch her neck….I can’t say anything…..I am breathless.

yes….once upon a time is now….

•September 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment

 

Yes, it has been a short time by some of your conventions. 

No, I do not think it is too fast. 

Ye s the brakes work. 

No, I will not apply them long enough to see the tail lights. 

Yes, I will make you nauseous with how I feel.

No, it isn’t just bs….it is how much I love her.

Yes, the ring is real. 

No, the tattoos were not real. 

 

….before you ask anymore…the feelings that brought us to here (at a speed that some seem to shudder at), to today…to so in love and happy…yes; they are real.  The most real and honest thing I have ever experienced in my life is just looking into her eyes as she says my name….and says I love you.  I do not doubt for a fraction of a second that it is my fairy tale…our fairy tale. 

I tell her she is perfect and beautiful, she argues that she is not…and most arguments I will let her win because she argues with such logic and intellectual prowess…but not this one.  She is perfect for me. 

Perfect.

I started out to write something that isn’t about her or me tonight.   Maybe about the state of our world, or the price of gas; eggs…but she is quietly reading a presentation she has to deliver this week and all I can think, all I can dig up….she looks wonderful…amazing when she is so lost in thought.  So focused on the work before her. 

I can touch her now, and occasionally I have no choice but to reach out and feel the softness of her skin.  She doesn’t really notice…well, now and then she looks up long enough to smile….but I know that shortly I will hear her sigh against me as we let the day unwind around us, blissfully unaware that the world is concerned for the outcome of what has been the most amazing days of my life. 

I am fearless.  This is my fairy tale….my perfect friend, my perfect lover…my perfect companion…the faceless angel of my dreams.  I knew it the second I let myself look at her as more than a co-worker…the second I stopped standing with my hands in my pocket waiting for things that only caused me pain….the second she touched my shoulder. 

When I felt her breath brush against my lips as I leaned in for our first kiss in the church parking lot (write that story one day…maybe)….my soul cried to finally know the feelings it had felt in fitful dreams – tried to find in places, tried to force into places where it could never exist…in the illusions that fantasy kept before it. 

She is my perfect place….and….

….yes…I know it for sure. 

No, it isn’t just a couple of hopeless romantics trying to make up a story…

……we are too logical, too analytical…to intelligent to just run head first without being certain….absolutely positive that this is our fairy tale…our perfect story….

……and I am really in no hurry to finish the first chapter….but I will not wait to put the first words on the page either…….

i am home…

•September 10, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Saturday morning…and I am laying in bed listening to her softly singing in the tub as I fall deeper and deeper with each passing second.  I have never felt as if I belonged anywhere…just kinda like an outsider observing the world.  Had even used the quote “this is your world, I am just passing through” to describe my existence….until now. 

Today we are going to meet up with my friends so that they can meet her.   I know they will love her too.  She is perfect for me…perfect…and they will without a doubt see the difference in me…recognize a new confidence and contentment for finally finding that place, that person who is home.  I am truly blessed to have finally been able to let go of things that held me captive, that held my heart closed…to have finally opened my eyes to her and to today!

I wish I had hours to sit and write our story to share…and I will…because it is simply amazing and filled with love, mystery, intrigue…..well, maybe just butt loads of moments that kept pushing us towards each other with such ferocity that we couldn’t ignore it.  Despite our best effort.

The new feelings inside me…of belonging make me giddy.  I grew up an army kid moving and not ever having a home, then we finally settled but I never felt that it was “me”.  I had gone so far as to think that I would never know the feelings of home and belonging that I had read and heard about.  Even married for twenty years, I never had that sense of contentment, of home…that five seconds in her arms gave me.

I am truly and deeply in love.

Truly and deeply…for the last time.

She is calling me to wash her back….I love that she wants me to touch her that much…that she loves me to touch her that much…be back…

 

I look at her…really look into her…and I see everything that I could imagine.  I see today, tomorrow…my life.  Although one of our friends asked us where we get the weed that makes us this crazy for each other, that put the ring on her finger…I know that it isn’t weed, it isn’t anything but God letting us know that we had finally done without long enough…he has given us each other and now it is to us to share that love and ourselves…with each other….with our children…with those who we pass, those we touch….I am not sure that I deserve this wonderful woman, but I am going to do all I can to be worthy of my new home……I am finally there. 

 

…..just a guy….

•September 9, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I watch her sleeping every chance I get.  She breathes so softly, so beautifully against me.  I am afraid to move, to disturb the serenity of those moments. 

I have been happy in my life, in love….I can not deny that.  I wouldn’t try.  But this perfect woman, this amazing and wonderful lady….God…..thank you for allowing me to finally “see”….to know after all the time we would just say hi….to feel the happiness and complete contentment that I do this morning.  To finally know that the world came and went so that I would know how to enjoy the gift before me….so that I was prepared to love her.

I have been thinking so often of a day where I crossed the parking lot going to my car and she walked slightly in front of me.  I remember speeding up a bit….no freaking idea why…and just walked beside her in silence.  I wanted to speak and a feeling inside of me begged to reach out and touch her….to feel her shoulder and see…to find out.  But I walked on.  That was a couple years ago……

We talked about that day.  We could both remember it so vividly…I asked about it…she told me exactly where she was parked….and I knew she truly remembered when she told me how I looked at her….funny the moments that touch you deeply. 

 

Today is her birthday….and I am going to try and make it the best ever…till next year….then try harder to improve.  She deserves happiness and love, comparable to what she hands out daily to everyone in her presence….I just hope I can give a portion of what she holds for everyone. 

So amazing and unbelievable is the story that I am living…..my dream finally come home…real…and she loves me. 

 

She is sitting here with me now…and I am looking at her…watching her so focused on something on the computer….at the same time she is shaking her head to some song coming through the headphones that I can’t hear, but I can feel in her expressions and know… I know she is happy…and I am certain for the first time in my life that I am a part of someone’s happiness…she loves me!!!  I am just some guy who gets it wrong too often…but she loves me!!

 

We are so connected on so many levels…she is intellectually stimulating,…physically, emotionally we are compatible……she just smiled…..

 

her smile……….man…………..and the way she looks at me……think I am gonna stop writing and find something else to do with myself……with her….

sigh……….

•September 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I sat watching as they discussed her daughter’s wedding.  Although I am an outsider in that part of her life, I didn’t feel it.  Not for one second have I felt anything but complete contentment.

I wish I could say that I was paying attention to every word, but I wasn’t….she had her hair pulled back over her shoulder and I could see the side of her neck.  Now, I am not a vampire, so the sight should not have taken so much of my attention….but it was hard to think more than how desperately I wanted to kiss her…to run my lips along the length of her neck and up behind her ear.   How I wanted to reach around and brush my fingers along the other side and across her chin, her lips….

We played chess in the mountains….yep…chess….and I struggled to pay attention because she slightly tilted her head, concentrating on her next move…..me concentrating on….the way she rolls her head back and sighs with a light touch just before the transition to her shoulders……..

The night that we first went out….Jammin in the alley…..I watched her talking and laughing.  I would reach out to touch her arm……her hand….and I would catch my breath as she pulled her hair over her ear and expose that perfectly formed….really don’t have a neck fetish, she is perfect….amazingly so… so perfect….I just knew that night that I wanted to kiss her there…I could just feel that she would love it….I just felt it.  I felt so much that night….

Well, the wedding is next month…I remember that.  And I am invited…I remember that…the fiancé seems a nice young man…her daughter is quite a wonderful young lady…I do love the family interaction….I caught all that…..

Maybe I should be ashamed that I was not hearing everything….but she was laying against me as she has every day since we decided to follow the force that put us on this path….and I could smell her…..and with each breath I could taste her….and the memory of each time I have touched her…..oh yeah…..something about cheesecake at the wedding……