Memories of Trion, Mainly Playing Golf

I took a ride with Ted Bowers this morning at the newly reopened Trion Golf Course. He was driving a golf cart out of which we frequently exited to swing at the little white dimpled ball. Some would call it playing golf, but what I did today more closely resembled gardening than any sport.

I could not remember the last time I partook in this activity. There was a golf card in the bag which read “Calhoun Elks Lodge golf course” It was dated 2002, and had the names “Larry”(me) and “Joe”, who was Mr. Joe Sultan…my boss at the time. Since the rubber grips had dry rotted off all the irons in the bag from sitting in my utility room, I figured 14 years was about right. There were 14th generation spiders and cobwebs who were inhabiting that bag and protested loudly when I removed their home, and forcefully ejected them last night. A lot of water, a flood and a torrent has gone under the trestle bridge since these clubs were last used.

My Dad’s playing days had passed when I put those clubs away. I had suffered one heart attack and one stent at that time, and thought I was in good shape. I wasn’t though. I lost my job with Mr. Sultan’s company. A good company and a good job. I still don’t know quite why til this day…but it was a hard blow to me. I went on from there to 12 hour night shifts, constant uncertainty and anxiety, deaths of my parents, major surgery with permanent damage, and overall health decline. It is only since last June, that I began walking my way back to some mobility. I must tell you though my friends, that if I see you out and don’t recognize you, or if I sound uncertain about some past event which I should remember, or some part of our friendship which I should remember and I don’t…please forgive me. My memory is very spotty. Much more so than I let on at times.

However, I did still remember how to swing AT a golf ball. And so we did this morning. It was fun. Some great memories returned to me as we trekked the course. I could picture J.W. Greenwood, my old coach driving the green on number one hole. As I sat there waiting I saw many more men who played there return to life. Jack Shamblin, with his huge all or nothing swing. Harold Florence, who had a low flat swing. Roy Williams Sr., up on his toes at the height of his swing. There was Otis Tanner, with his huge backswing and follow through. Skinny old Faye Brown, who could hit the ball a mile. Tommy Brown, and Jimmy Brown, and Michael Brown…with who me and Daddy played so many rounds. I saw Lamar Chandler on his tractor mowing the fairway. I heard the “Loving Spoonful” in the background playing “Hottown Summer in the city, back of my neck getting very too gritty” My theme song during the two Summers I worked there, mowing ditches and working in the downstairs clubhouse. I’d peep out the doors on Monday mornings during the summer and “Muley” Camp would be out there hunting golf balls. Only on Mondays..Only day it was allowed.

I passed over the creek at number two hole and remembered the dozens upon dozens of yellowjacket stings I had gotten waiting off to the side on one of those Mondays for some guys to play through. I had gotten them all stirred up by poking a stick absentmindedly in the ground. I had to run and jump in the creek to get them off me. Old Doc Clemens had to give me a couple of shots to keep me breathing. Cousin Rick had been standing right next to me and hadn’t gotten one sting. Same cousin Rick who was the only person to see me hang back at my Daddy’s funeral and sob like a baby. Some people always seem to be there at the strangest times.

My Dad, the old lefthander…Same as me, or me the same as him. That’s the way he taught me to swing. He couldn’t hit them long like Jack Shamblin, but always straight and deadly around the greens. I imagined him there today too. J.W. in the background teasing, saying “You lefties need to turn around and hit that ball right” If he had seen me today he would have laughed his head off, and rightfully so.

I’m glad they opened the place up…think I may go back for another round of memories sometimes.”

Not our Fathers America

This is not our Father’s America…our pride has been tossed in the rubbish heap of “progress”

Our initiave has turned to lead and settled into our bottoms.

Our spirits are lulled to sleep by electronic toys, social media, and many more gizmos.

We let other people make our decisions..and we believe every word out of the mouths of talking heads, twitterites , and others motivated by greed and their own agenda.

No this is not our Father’s America….and if we do not soon stand up it will soon no longer be our America either.

It will belong to huge billion dollar corporations, and those who own them, who say their conglomerates have the same “rights” as living breathing people. It may already be in the process of happening.

Let’s fight to stop it.

Kindness or Cruelty?

Before you call somebody Ugly:

If I could stay spiritually at any age, I’d stay spiritually like a baby. Innocent and pure, with almost everything that happens being a new experience.

How and when do we pass beyond the barrier of that purity? Can we ever get it back?

When Jesus said “you must be born again” I believe that’s what he was referring to….rebirth into innocence. Rebirth into purity. The body can never again be as it was when we are born. It ages and eventually dies. I believe we are then born into a new phase of spirituality. There are many beliefs as to the how and what, and I’ll have to admit I don’t know the real answer. I won’t even discuss that right now.

I just think it’s a shame that in between our birth and our death, so many lives are so filled with hatred, bigotry, misogyny, and violence.

Conversely, it’s a relief that so many others, mayhap the majority, are filled with love, compassion, empathy, and understanding.

I guess that it’s the hard wiring of the human mind that causes a tendency for some to be more one way then the other. It’s a fact though, that sometimes people choose cruelty and meanness when they could choose kindness and humility, no matter which way they are wired.

It’s a tragedy that just a tiny bit of thought, and a minute or two of consideration before speaking or acting, can make such a huge difference in our lives, and how we are regarded by others.

I’ve Never Been to Scotland

From 2014- I’ve Never Been to Scotland.

I’ve never been to Scotland, although I would like to go there. It’s the home of golf and many of the world’s great courses are there…including Royal St. Andrews, the home of golf. Although it’s been almost 10 years since I have played, I still occasionally go down to the local track field and hit a few.

My Dad taught me how to play golf. We were both left handers and I used his clubs the first time I ever swung at a golf ball. I totally missed it. Daddy laughed that big laugh of his and told me the first one didn’t count. I hit the ball the second time, and the rest of my time at home kinda revolved around that sport. Dad and I formed a bond of camaraderie with our common love of golfing, along with my brother Mike, and it was one that endured until he was physically unable to play anymore.

I visited the cemetery this evening on the fourth anniversary of his death, and left a golf ball on his stone. It would have been more appropriate to have thrown it out in the woods, since we both spent a heck of a lot of time in the rough! That same reality hit me again for the umpteenth time that he is somewhere I have not been yet.

Well, as I said at the start, I’ve never been to Scotland. I believe it exists though, as there is ample evidence that it is there, and there are golf courses there aplenty, with a lot of Scots on them whacking away with vigor at that little white ball.

I also believe in life after death, although I’ve never been there I believe there is ample evidence it exists. And I believe someday in the future at some point the old left handers will be out in the rough looking for that ball and laughing that big laugh! Until then, there’s life to be lived and love to be loved.

My Daddy

“Time passes by, people pass on

At the drop of a tear, they’re gone

Let’s do what we dare, do what we like

And love while we’re here before time passes by”

…from “Time Passes By” by Kathy Mattea.

These are a few pictures of my Dad. Eating…which he loved to do.

An old photo of me and him when I was very young.

Him and his suspenders in his chair.

His memorial flag, with me and Matt, and him holding the flag.

Navy man. Mill man. Funny man. Serious man. Man with good advice. Man I wish I could talk to for a while…one more time! Good old man!

Tomorrow will be seven years since he passed on.

Love you and Miss you Tarpie, Dad, Papa…..I won’t ever forget everything you did for me, and as long as I’m here you will be alive in my memory.

Swearing an Oath

Swearing an Oath may very well be taken for granted in this day and age. People go into court and place their hand on the Bible and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I myself, would prefer to affirm that I am telling the truth instead of swearing.

I consider swearing an oath as a binding promise. If I swear an oath I would intend to keep it. I swore an oath to my wife fifty years ago next month and we both have kept it. It has been bound in love and loyalty and steeled by the forge of mutual experience. As far as I know that is the only oath of mutual fealty I have ever sworn.

Soldiers swear an oath to serve their country. There is, as far as I know, no expiration on that oath. Soldiers have died by the millions in fulfilment of their oath. One could certainly say they took their oath seriously. Remember to tell them so Monday.

People swear Oaths when taking public office and many of them know while they are speaking the words, that they do not intend to bind their actions to their oaths. I feel that if there is one God, then that God will be very unhappy with these people. If there are many Gods, they will all abhor oathbreakers, and if there are no Gods then men with true hearts will despise a rescinder of their oaths, and the Universe itself will not receive them.

My Dad always told me that a man is only as good as his word. Remember that when you give yours. If you don’t intend to keep it, just keep your mouth shut.

8 Billion Realities

What is reality, really? Sometimes I wonder if there are 7 billion different realities on this globe. One for each of us.

We all share similar experiences to some extent, but inside of our brain there’s a different world going on for each of us…therefore a different reality. We are all spiritually different…we each have an individual soul, so the way we experience life is slightly different from everyone else in the world. I shiver a little sometimes when I am in huge crowds…like at a big college football game or something. I think I am shivering in awe…or perhaps fright.

So many souls, so close…intellects interacting yet keeping their distance. Strange. I weirdly wonder if we are creating our own reality as we go along….and in the end I wonder if…our living, thinking, and dying is actually creating our own hereafter?

Guess we will see.

I Yearn for Autumn

The air is crisp and clean, and in the mornings there is a light frost on the ground. The sun sets early; by six thirty it is almost dark. It is winter. It is December. As the sun burns down like a blazing torch upon us during these summer months….I dream of December. I dream of Fall.

Where once, in my youth I was a child of the sun, a player of baseball, a fisherman and a reveler in the long days of summer, age has taken my stamina and infirmities have slowed my need to sweat. I don’t want to wish away time, and I won’t. I’ll grow some nice tomatoes and have some sandwiches, and take my time in the sun in smaller doses.

But when the first breeze of Autumn blows….I hope I’m one of the first in line to get a blast of that fresh, wonderful sweet smell.

Reevaluation

Back in 2014, I kinda’ made the following promises to myself to do certain things. I’ve failed in some, and succeeded in some others. Sometimes it’s important to stop, evaluate…recalibrate, celebrate and gravitate to a different level in your life:

Eat better. Get more exercise. Laugh more. Hug someone.

Leave a good tip for your server. Give someone hungry some food. Take a picture of a flower, bird or a kid. (Alright…a puppy too) Tell someone you love that you love them…they need to hear it.

Write a poem. Drink some good wine. Read a good book. (One book I would suggest ANY teenage girl who is planning a relationship and wants to know what real married or “near” married life is like is “Joy in the Morning” It may seem a bit dated, but it’s great)

Find something nice to say about someone.

Forgive someone you need to forgive if possible. Don’t settle for mediocrity.

Live your live so that when you get to be older, you don’t look back and be overcome by regret. Keep an open mind, nobody is right about everything. Protect your loved ones.

Take up for the oppressed. Consider recycling and growing your own food. Don’t believe near everything you hear or read…especially on Facebook.

Get some rest now…And have a great cup of coffee in the morning.

Guten Abend.

Forgetting the Words and the Chords

I drug out my guitar for the first time in about 6 months to practice a song for someone. It’s amazing how the brain works…after I found the chords for the song I needed and got it down, I just fooled around and went through 6 or 7 songs I haven’t played in years. “I Go to Pieces” And then “Fire and Rain” and The Beatles “And I Love Her, and Yesterday” and ended up playing and singing a verse of “He stopped loving Her Today” for old “Possum” And I could have kept going. You see, I’m really not much of a player but a singer..And I have learned to play that way over the years, as an accompianist to myself. I’m pretty fair at that but not much else. I thought about old Glen Campbell’s daughter testifying before Congress the other day, trying to get more money for Alzheimer’s…telling about how her Daddy was losing his ability to remember the words..And the chords. And I went back and got the guitar and sang “By the Time I get to Phoenix”, and I hope they get that money cause I wouldn’t want to go that way…forgettin the words and the chords. I think I’d rather just somebody shoot me with one of them 300 million guns out there.