Following is Part #1 of the Social Media Journals by Larry Bowers. Unedited, and uncorrected in some cases. It’s very long, so read when you have time and at your peril!
The New Year is creeping every closer. Just a few more days until Sunday and it will be 2012. When I was a kid in the 1950’s, I often thought about the year 2000 and beyond. I thought it would be a magical time where most problems of health and poverty would be solved and I thought that surely by then the world would find a way to be at peace. I thought people would travel around in “sky cars” sort of like the Jetsons and that there would be devices to take care of human needs. I think maybe if we, i.e. the human race, had spent as much money on the problems of health and poverty, and on finding ways of helping our fellow man instead of on wars, weapons of wars and ways to destroy each other we might have seen that idealistic world I dreamed off as a child. Where did we go wrong? Surely I thought, after two huge wars that killed so many people in the middle of the century we would LEARN something……I want to go back sometimes to those days in the past and see if it was something I did, or didn’t do, that might have helped. Yes…the New Year is creeping every closer this week and there is still a chance for all of those good things to happen. Wonder if there’s a chance they will?
The biggest and best gift that we are given besides the gift we celebrate today is our lives. We need to be so thankful for this wonderful chance we have been given to live on this earth, to love and to experience being human beings. We don’t need to waste time with hate. Hating others for what they are or what they do. We have only so much time here to LOVE one another. Let’s try doing more loving and less hating and I think God will be happier with us.
Christmas Eve 2011
Many of us measure our lives by the number of Christmas’s we live through. More so, than even our birthdays. This is my 62nd Christmas, my first one occurring when I was 3 months old. I rejoice this year even more than ever to be here and celebrate the birth of Jesus on the morrow. May all of my friends and family have a fine day. May all of humanity realize that we live to walk in the shadow of Christ, who loved all mankind, the same, and who died for all of mankind to have a chance to be with him. Merry Christmas
Dec 19 2011
Wangdoodles and Vermicious Knids
For some reason today I thought about the line from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory where Gene Wilder as Willie Wonka tells his group of guests in his factory about the Oompa Loompas and their country and how they came to his factory: “Oh, well, then you know all about it and what a terrible country it is. Nothing but desolate wastes and fierce beasts. And the poor little Oompa Loompas were so small and helpless, they would get gobbled up right and left. A Wangdoodle would eat ten of them for breakfast and think nothing of it. And so, I said, “Come and live with me in peace and safety, away from all the Wangdoodles, and Hornswogglers, and Snozzwangers, and rotten, Vermicious Knids.”
I sometimes wish that a place like the Chocolate Factory existed, and that those of us who wanted to, could go there. “Well there’s Heaven” some people will say: “It’s a lot better than a Chocolate Factory” Well I’m not ready to go there quite yet. As the country song says: “Everybody Wants to go to Heaven, but Nobody Wants to Die” That’s how I feel about it. (ok, that’s my limit for clichés and quotes for the day!)
The kind of place I am thinking about doesn’t exist anymore, if it ever did. As the days grow more and more dangerous during this age and in this time, there is very little a person can do to get away from the world that wants to harm them, unless you want to move to one of the islands that the “Survivor” cast have abandoned, and start using their stuff and living like them.
A lot of people have tried to create their own “safe haven” Jim Jones, and his followers. David Koresh tried. A lot of people try to start their own Valhalla, and somehow it always seems to fail. I wonder why? Is humanity and human nature so geared to be combative and hateful to other humans who don’t “fit in” that no matter what we do here on this earth, we are doomed to fail when it comes to loving and protecting those who are different? You would like to think that wasn’t so, but tell me a time and a place where there has ever been a “Chocolate Factory” for the Oompa Loompas?
Sadly, I can’t think of any. I know that all religions promise us a place like that, of one kind or another. Heaven, Nirvana, Paradise, you name it. We have been promised the reward of these places from them all. But that’s ONLY due to us after we die. I sometimes think long and hard about the theory which some preachers and philosophers espouse, that people are living their “hell” while they are here on earth.
Some people do I think,… of their own accord.
I know there are many, many joyful things that we have while we are here. Most of the time, we don’t really see them or appreciate them while we are experiencing them, and it’s only through the glasses of “nostalgia” and memory that we look back and think about what we should have done, or might have done to make things better, or to enjoy things more. That’s probably why I reach back into the past so much through my writing.
Maybe I didn’t get it right the first time! Damn I sometimes with that I had another chance!
But I am growing more content with the things I have actually done as I get older. There’s no use in beating yourself up, because I believe everything happens for a reason and that the things which DO happen are what is supposed to have happened. Does that make sense?
But sometimes when really bad and horrific things happen to good people you HAVE to wonder why. Senseless murders, children molested, wars and killings of innocents. Good people having to suffer with horrible, painful diseases. Where was THEIR safe haven? Life just never ceases to puzzle me when it comes to things like that. Why do these things happen? What can the purpose of this possibly be?
I guess it’s all in what you seek while you are here. I think none of us, from the Pope to the Dali Llama really knows, with absolute certainty what is waiting for us.
I kind of hope I open my eyes and I am walking into this big Chocolate Factory where everything is made of candy and……there are little purple guys walking around with smiles on their faces!
Peace and Joy!
Dec 18 2011
A year ago today I was laying in a hospital bed, after having gone in on the 17th with chest pains. I found out last 18th that I had a heart attack and then subsequently went “up the chain” to a quadruple bypass on Teddy’s birthday, December 21st. So far this year, although I am still not totally well, I praised God that I am even here and hopefully this year will celebrate a “normal” Christmas…not lying in the hospital wondering if I was going to even live. It was not my time, God was not through with me yet and I pray that he will not be for many years to come. This is a little early but….MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone, especially my wonderful family and all the friends who have prayed for my recovery during this past, very difficult year.
Dec 11 2011
Why are people getting married less now?
They are afraid of commitment, which means they would have to be faithful and true to one person. They are afraid of having to hold on to one person through hard times…because it’s not always goodness and light. They are afraid of having to uphold vows, and promises which they make when they GET married.
Also, the government handouts are easier to get if you are single. Get married and you might lose your food stamps, or your welfare. Some people don’t want to tamper with that. They have learned how to play the system and don’t want to mess it up. Get married and you have to pay more taxes. So a lot of them just live together. We should have programs for people who really need it, but people aren’t always honest.
Older folks whose spouses have died don’t won’t to give up precious money and benefits to get married again. They shouldn’t have to. So a lot of them just live together.
Rich people and celebrities don’t won’t to get married, cause it would complicate who gets what when they get divorced. Plus it’s expensive to have a lawyer draw up those pre-nups, so a lot of them just live together.
Our society seems to stack the deck AGAINST marriage, and then they wonder why marriage is down??
Now this rant does NOT apply to everyone in any of the above categories. Also, it must be kept in mind that this is just MY opinion and others may agree or disagree as they please.
I’m too far in the soup now to control the temperature….indeed I think I have become one of the ingredients.
I revel in life. I revel in this time that I have been given as a living, breathing being, able to enjoy all of the temporal things that are here. I took a deep smell of a beautiful baby’s hair today and touched their soft skin. I tasted my food with pleasure. I feel the crispness of the cold winter air and exhale, able to see the living breath that was just inside my lungs. I appreciate this life, I am grateful for this life. I revel in it.
Dec 6 2011
Every year without fail it comes. It’s that time of year again when my nerves become as jangled as old St. Nick’s jingle bells.
I can’t help it. I’ve tried, but to no avail. Every December 25th, right after all the wrapping paper has been torn off of all the presents (usually a TON of them…really…) I start saying to myself: “next year, I am not putting myself through the strain of trying to get so much…to do so much” but, when next year rolls around…..this year now, I start getting that feeling down in my gut that I am just not going to have enough dough, ray, mi to get what I feel like I need to get. Sometimes it gets to the point where it downright depresses me.
I know when I was a kid, a lot of my best memories of Christmas were, or course at my Grandparent’s home. But, I guarantee you right now that they were a site simpler Christmases than now. One year that I remember really vividly was back in the mid 60’s I guess. We didn’t usually go up there until a few days before Christmas day. And guess what? Grandma didn’t have her Christmas stuff already out! That’s right; she didn’t get it out the day after Halloween like some of us do now. She didn’t have too much stuff anyway. One medium size cardboard box and that was it.
For some unknown reason that year, I went out with Grandma to cut a tree. Grandma was appointed to all that kind of stuff because of Grandpa’s arthritis in his knees. I can’t remember when he didn’t have it. Besides, he was the type who thought if Grandma needed a tree, then SHE should be the one to get it. We walked for a good piece, up and down some rolling hills. Finally, Grandma spotted a little pine tree. It was about 4 feet tall, and had pretty, fully needled limbs. We took the saw and cut it down, and I drug it back to the house. Out came the cardboard box, and my brother and I, and Grandma put on the decorations. Everyone else just sort of hung back and watched. It was great fun! We had to be oh so careful with those glass ornaments, and even had to replace one or two of those big old bulbs on the one strand of red lights that she owned.
When we were through, and plugged in the lights, that little pine became transformed into a veritable “Times Square” beauty. I don’t think it would have won any contests of ANY kind. But for us, it was good. Very good.
My brother and I usually only had two or three presents each at Christmas. There was one “main” present, which usually never exceeded a twenty dollar price tag. Then there were a couple of smaller ones. Grandpa always delivered, with a stocking full of fruit. Oranges, apples, sliced orange candy, peppermint sticks (the soft ones) and all types of assorted nuts. I really looked forward to that stocking! Then, when we visited O’ Zion Baptist Church for their Christmas program, we ended up getting that wonderful brown paper bag full of the same kinds of goodies. The sliced orange candy was ALWAYS my favorite!
I don’t know when things changed, but somewhere along the line they certainly did. The stores all have gotten larger. Then of course we have had the development of Wal-Mart, the king of merchandising. With them around to push the small Mom and Pop businesses into bankruptcy, the way that Christmas has been perceived and promoted has changed tremendously. Every year it’s pushed up by a day or two. It used to be that it was right after Thanksgiving before you saw anything “Christmas” come out. Then, they moved it up a couple of weeks. They have kept moving and moving it until now the Trick or Treaters are not off of the streets and into their beds, before the Christmas stuff comes out.
It’s not the same stuff either. I looked and looked the other day to try and find something that wasn’t made in China. I finally did. It was made in Viet Nam. I went through a JC Penney store the other day and looked at clothing and found made in Egypt, Viet Nam, Peru, Nicaragua, Singapore, South Africa, etc. You name it. The only thing I found in the whole store in 30 minutes of looking that was made in the U.S., was good old “Cannon” towels.
Well, back where I started. The feeling in the gut. It’s a little worse than usual this year. My situation is a little tenuous, and money is going to be really short. This MAY just be the year when I am forced to do what I think about every year and cut back. Besides, I am not really sure that I want to make China’s economy any better than it already is…or Viet Nam’s for that matter.
Maybe I should go out in the woods and cut down a little old pine tree, just for old time’s sake. (If the pulp wood guys haven’t gotten them all!)
November 29 2011
I will have to say one thing for sure, Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass were two men who were WAY ahead of their time in terms of rejecting the ideas of discriminating against people due to them being “different” in some way. Never heard of them? I’m sure that most of us watch at LEAST one of their works if not more this time of the year. As a matter of fact, I just finished watching “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” again yesterday with the babies. Believe me, if you watch it closely with your eyes wide open to what is going on, you will see a tenderly made cartoon which teaches one of life’s greatest lessons. Rudolph himself, was of course, “different” with his Red Nose so shiny and bright; but there was also Hermie the Elf who wanted to be a dentist and not a toy maker, and all the Toys on the Island of Misfit Toys with their “differences” from regular toys. All the reindeers teased Rudolph about his nose and even the great man Santa discriminated against him due to him being born with a physical difference. In the end, a lesson was learned when Rudolph saved the day for the very many who had previously rejected him. A lot of other Rankin and Bass cartoons also contain different lessons. “Santa Claus is coming to Town” with it’s “Burgermeister” whose dictator like rules kept children from having toys and kept their parents “under the thumb” of a repressive government. Rudolph came out in 1964, and the other cartoons not long after. I marvel at these lessons that I overlooked, or didn’t want to pay attention to, until these past few years when more and more people are coming down on others for being “different” in some manner or the other.
Thanksgiving….my favorite holiday of the year. Even more so than Christmas. On Thanksgiving all of the family is here and the extent of the stress is whether to have another spoonful of dressing or some more ham. I put more stress on myself about Christmas every year, by worrying about what to give to whom and is it enough and yada yada. This year, with things as they are, Christmas will be a little more “homey” But, I have finally decided that it’s going to be ok. I would be fine if the only thing I get for Christmas is an “I love you” from my family. I could NOT have made it this past year without them, especially my wife. You don’t know about love until you have to have someone wait on you hand and foot because you can’t wait on yourself. You don’t know about feelings until one of your children or grandchildren walking through the door to see you lifts your heart to the heavens. This year I am thankful just to BE here…just to be able to be around and love the best family any man could have. So, come on Thanksgiving…and pass the dressing please!
Nov 13 2011
I guess there comes a time in life when you realize you are becoming irrelevant. I think at some point during the space between my 60th year and my 61st year it has begun to happen to me. I dream almost every night of working…some job, and yet I don’t know whether I could physically do one if I could get one. That’s a feeling of inadequacy and uselessness I haven’t felt for 40 years. Things I used to look forward to have receded somewhat into the distance. Enjoyment of past activities are slightly beyond reach, just at my fingertips. I really think when they split you open and your body is operated by a machine for about an hour…something goes out of you. I talked with a couple of guys today who had the same thing done, and they both feel the same way about it. Did I die, and lose part of my soul….part of my will? Sometimes it feels like it. A lot of days I come off as being in a fog, or a funk. Who likes that? I see a lot of guys at my age still able to run marathons and play sports. Well, since I couldn’t run a marathon even before last year, I guess THAT’S irrelevant too. But. I could do a lot of things then which I can’t do now. I’m not old though. I’m not losing my mind, and I’m going to make sure that THIS year between my 61st year and 62nd year I prove that to myself. I am not quite ready for my elegy yet.
Nov 2 2011
Philosophically, I believe that many things in the world and in our universe are mysteriously balanced. For instance, I really believe that if one could count all the grains of sand on all the beaches in the world, then they would know the number of stars in the sky. I just think that’s how things work. Practically, however; I would wonder why anyone would want to do that, when it would be so much easier to count the number of people who are around you who need your love and care. I feel like a lot of times the things we humans pursue in quest of answers are very unimportant in the pursuit of happiness.
Why is it that although we know “scientifically” that human thought and emotion comes from the brain, we FEEL as though the emotions and thoughts we have for others come from the HEART?
I believe that Love comes from the heart.
When someone hurts you, your heart is broken. When you feel grief, does your head hurt or do you feel the tightness and pressure well up from inside of your chest? When you pick up a baby, so sweet and innocent….do you hug them to your head?
I’ve looked at explanations of how it’s all a “chemical reaction” that takes place in our brain.
But I wonder how scientists know where our soul really resides within us? I think it resides in our heart. I can just feel it deep down in my chest.
October 11 2011…when memes started to take over….
Where are all the “cartooney” looking posts coming from now? Is this something new from face book…you know all the posts with “sayings” from great minds and great thinkers? It sorta makes face book look like an ad from CVS. Also, what’s with the quiz about staying friends with people? I like all the people I have on my friends list and if I didn’t, I guess I would just quietly “unfriend” them. Gosh knows my life has been SO full of having to fill out forms and answering questions about this and that for people I don’t even know calling me on the phone and you name it for the past year…I really don’t want to fill out a quiz to stay friends. I’m not mad at nobody and I hope nobody’s mad at me.
Sept 29 2011
I would appear to me that anyone who claims to be a “prophet” had either REALLY BE a prophet or else they are a FALSE prophet. I know that some of the people who are claiming they KNOW about this and about that are very popular people sometimes. A person doesn’t’ have to claim to be a “prophet” to act prophetic. I worry. If you want to be Biblical you could quote the Bible…and I usually refrain from this because it is done SO often, but in this case I think it’s appropriate: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” Luke 6:26 this country is fast becoming a country of “false prophets” whether they be religious, political, literary, or philosophical. We have so many choices of things to believe, and it’s all laid out for us on a platter by our ever increasingly intrusive and instantaneous media. Am I being paranoid? I am reading too much into what is happening or what people are saying? I really firmly believe that the proliferation of the instant media and instant communication in this world, which started with the Television and has continued through the PC, and now the “power” phones which we all carry have enabled the possibility of control over large groups of individuals by people who are best unscrupulous and at worst evil to the core. You look at the population of the world, you look at our depletion of the natural environment, you look at the fact that groups of men never change in their intent to kill and conquer those weaker than them, and you wonder how long this can continue. The threat to us as individuals has grown exponentially since World War II. I can remember even in the early 50’s when my Great Uncles and my Grandfather could live practically money free by what they grew and raised themselves. My Grandfather might have spent 50 dollars a month on things he didn’t grow or raise himself. Try that now. I am not sure it can still be done. I am not sure that an individual can ever be anonymous or near anonymous anymore. We are, all of us, too tied into the “system” due to our use of things technical and information “vampiring” Even this program which I am using, and this computer on which I am typing and on the phone I just used today and in all the information I have dissembled to other entities and organizations over the past 10 to 15 years doom me to never being able to avoid the long reach of “big brother” anymore. As I say, I worry. I probably have rambled also. Just food for thought for anyone who has a few minutes to read and digest it. (even if you disagree)
If you hurt, I hurt with you. If you travel afar I will follow. If there is nothing to eat, I will be hungry with you…there is nothing I would not do for you, only just ask me…and I will do it if it is in my power.
September 9 2011
Through all the living of my life some wonderful things and people have remained constant and supportive. My wife, my family, my faith, my friends. There are so many exterior influences which want to take you down and reduce you to questioning whether or not you are worthy to even be alive. Don’t listen to them. They can either be overcome or ignored. They do not count in the long run. I can live without many things but as long as I have love I can live.
September 5 2011
I got out an old pocket watch the other day while I was selling stuff at Trade Day and I got to thinking about things while I was winding up that old watch.
I had watched a show a few days ago on Youtube, taking a break from watching “The British Baking Show”, about the science of quantum physics. It made me think that although we humans think we are REALLY smart, there are SO many things we have yet to discover….
I feel like we have only seen the tip of the iceberg, and know nothing about what lies beneath, under the cover of the ocean.
It’s all seems so complicated…this Universe, but then…just think, like I thought Tuesday at Trade day, how complicated some of the pocket watches that the Swiss used to make were. SO many moving parts, and yet…they kept time better than anything ever made. Also, when those wonderfully smart watchmakers’s got through with them, they knew all the new owner was going to have to do was “wind” the watch. They knew the quality of what they had made. They knew the time and precision and pride they had put into the making of those watches.
Now then, if HUMANS can make something that complicated, and make it work so well, just think what the creator of all things can do! What seems SO complicated to us in the existence of our Universe is a “pocket watch” to God.
We are only starting to realize his wonders.
August 29 2011
It’s pretty pitiful when your idea of giving to the homeless is throwing empty aluminum soda cans out the window….
August 28 2011
One of my favorite movies of all times is “Forrest Gump” Ok, I know…I know it’s hokey, and clichéd but it’s still one of my favorites!
One of the things that Forrest does, that I find myself wanting to do more and more often of late, is to just take off and run, and run, and keep running. If I COULD run, (everyone who knows me personally knows what a ludicrous idea that is) I would do it just like Forrest did, going from coast to coast and just looking at the sights and thinking. He was thinking mostly about Jenny, which he certainly did a LOT in the movie. As for me personally, I am to the point where I just want to break out and RUN AWAY now, as fast as I can from things! It just seems like everything seems to pile up at one time, and as it keeps piling I feel like if I don’t get out of the way I am going to get crushed.
But, I think we all get that way at times. When “life” things overcome us, and we start to mull over our problems endlessly, thinking that there is NO solution out there for the things that are weighing us down. I guess I forget, as we all do, that everyone has their limit, their point up to where they can take things, and once it gets past that point you just want to RUN!
Forrest just felt like going for a little run, and he did it for two years. At this point, it might take me more time than that to figure out where I went wrong in life and how to straighten things out. (If that’s possible) At my age, there’s not a whole lot of “straightening out” time left in which to unspoil the pot.
Some people will say that prayer works. I have been praying every night and so far God has either not chosen to answer me, or the answer isn’t coming yet. Could be I have got to get through this “phase” in my life by myself. It’s a tough one though. I guess that growing up is never easy though.
Yes, that’s right, I said growing up. No matter what age you are, you still are not too old to “grow up” a little. Admitting you have been wrong about some things is a good start. A lot of people could benefit from that, and then apologizing for what they have done wrong. Apologizing really seems to be a sticking point for some people, especially politicians! I personally have had a problem with it sometimes. But not now. I am going around and telling people who I don’t even know how sorry I am!
First I guess I really just need to analyze what it is I want. I think we all need to do that. Maybe not even what we WANT but what we actually NEED. Most of the time those are two WILDLY diverse things. I want to have enough money to pay my bills, and give my wife some security, enough time to enjoy my children and grandchildren, and enough wisdom to understand that almost every other human being on earth wants the same things. Perhaps if I look around at what’s going on most other places on this little globe, I will realize that I don’t have it too awful bad.
Well, then I am going back to the bedroom now and see if I can find my Tennis shoes. I don’t know if I can run, but if it’s warm enough outside I think I might just take a little walk. Run Forrest Run!
In life there are VERY few people you can really trust. I’d say most of us could count them on our fingers.
Quickly, quickly before your “someday I wills” turn into “I wish I hads”
Turning over a new leaf and hope the other side looks fresh…
Anyone who believes in a cause but does not act, risks being held as a hypocrite.
August 5 2011
I was watching the clouds roll by overhead today, and a sense of unreality hit me. Things just don’t “seem” the same to me now as they did when I was a child. As I remember the clouds and sky seemed so much “newer”, “cleaner” different somehow. Everything else felt the same. Was it because I was looking at thing through the eyes of child, and now somehow over the years I have become “jaded” to the beauty of the earth. Somehow I have let cynicism creep in and darken thing. Age has occluded and taken away my child’s view of life. What a loss…what a shame.
To know great sorrow one has to have known great love
July 31 2011
I saw some trailers from the new move Transcendence by Johnny Depp and thought back to this post I did in 2011. I thought it kind of related to the subject of artificial intelligence. I want to go to see this movie, kind of afraid to do it though. I have posted many times in the past concerning this subject, one in which I postulated that the day that computers become “self aware” will be a bad day for humanity! Hey sometimes you wonder if screenwriters browse FB for ideas….lol…
My Daddy once told me that unless a man had something useful to say, he should keep his mouth shut. As most of you realize if you know me, or have read my writing it’s obvious that I should keep my mouth shut most of the time. I just can’t help it though, useful or not I have to say what I think. Sometimes I am down….sometimes up (I wonder if I’m bi-polar? Naw…I think I like the North Pole best)
What I am opening my mouth (or keyboard literally) to talk about today is hope. That’s right, hope. I have to have it. It has to be there, like a piece of driftwood in the vast ocean when you are drowning. Something to grab hold of and stay afloat. My hope is for the future. A future in which I will be missing, but my children and grandchildren and whatever descendants that I may be blessed with (who will only know I existed by looking at photos of the “funny looking man“) will know.
Right now, the future looks kind of bleak, and that is why I have to have hope. I don’t think there is any way that the members of my generation, the baby boomers, can fix the mess that we are in now. It’s not just one mess, but MANY different messes going on simultaneously which make things so complex. But I really think things are going to change in the future…have to change for humanity to survive. Some of the things I think may happen:
There are the changing demographics of the entire world. People of different races and cultures are traveling far and wide in this day and age and settling in places their ancestors would never have imagined. As they do this, they become familiar with each other and one thing leads to another and you have relationships being built between these members of different races and cultures. Some still try to stick with their own cultures, but inevitably I believe will fail. The children of the future will all probably look like Tiger Woods and Mariah Carey. I think at some point there won’t be any black, yellow, red and white anymore. There will be one color and one international culture at some point. I don’t know how far in the future that this may occur, and I don’t know if mankind can keep from destroying each other first with nuclear weapons but if they can then that’s one thing I think will happen. It will be a huge challenge for our descendants who are at the “transitional” stage. (Or maybe that’s where we ARE now?) It could well be that the future inhabitants of this planet will “ease” into this situation so gradually that no one will ever know it’s happening until it’s upon them. I don’t think it will be a bad thing either. One of things that continually breeds discontent, distrust and war is the difference between people’s race and culture. If there IS not difference then they will have to find something else to fight about. Maybe they won’t be able to.
There is the quickly changing face of technology. I would have NEVER in my wildest dreams as a child imagined the world as it is today. There have been so many advances in the last 50 years that it makes the 1950’s seem like the Stone Ages. What we take for granted every day now, would have seemed like a trick of magic back then. Computers will continue to advance and now that robotics IS actually taking off like Isaac Asimov thought it would, our descendants can look forward to a world where the physical part of living will become easier and easier.
There will be issues that come up, ethical issues, which will challenge the very core of the morals of our society. What about a computer program that can store the “essence” of a person on a program, and come up with a “virtual” person who is exactly like the person who is dying. Anyone ever seen the movie “Freejack” with old Mick Jagger? That’s science fiction still, BUT so was Jules Verne back in the late 19th century. It may not be that a person’s “essence” can be stored on a computer and then put back into another person’s body. I am not sure it will ever get to that point. BUT to create a “virtual” person with the knowledge and character of a real live person is but a few steps away from becoming a reality. You can “store” Grandma or Grandpa on the handy dandy virtual person program, and pull them up to talk to any time you want. How would you like that? Kind of a spooky thought isn’t it? Yet, right now people who play the high tech computer games that generate “characters” to play through (the avatar type games) are already interacting in a very close knit way with these “quasi-people.” You can give them character traits, physical characteristics, and other things which make them “almost” seem human. It’s only a few steps away until you can do the same thing with your dear Uncle Bob, believe me. Soulless, yes. Interaction there will be. There could also be a use for this type of program to reduce overpopulation, in that people who are not allowed, or don’t want to have a “real” live child, can have a virtual child which they can “raise” from a baby all the way up through adulthood. The cost would be quite a bit cheaper to raise this type of “child” too.
Medically speaking, the people who can make it 20 or 30 more years are likely to be able to live practically as long as they want. With the research and discoveries in genetics that are now taking place, it won’t be long until the genes that cause “aging” as we know it, will be discovered and neutralized. People who are well off enough financially will be able to benefit from this expensive technology and beat “the system” Dick Cheney may actually still be here in the year 2100! Hmmm…?
I think that many diseases which afflict people such as cancer, heart disease, and all the big killers will be beaten. People will have to be run over by a Fire Truck in order to die. That’s about the only thing which will do it. However, I am sure there will be a lot of volunteers to be “uploaded” into the computer program which I mentioned in the previous paragraph. After all, who REALLY wants to live forever? And you probably will still have the old aches and pains that won’t go away. (Maybe not, they may have something for that too) Besides, you might be able to do things on that computer program you could NEVER do in real life, like fight dragons, or fly. That would be a hoot, right?
I wonder if people will still be able to go out and have a juicy steak or a lobster, or if everyone will have to eat those little pills like the one that Willy Wonka invented that turned Violet, well…purple I guess. Hopefully, he will have perfected them by then and we won’t have to go somewhere and have the juice squeeze out of us.
I kind of wonder too if space travel will advance to the point where we will be actually sending people out on missions to other galaxies. Will the episodes of Star Trek, The Next Generation be a reality or a near reality at least? If we can tear enough money away from the government’s efforts at exterminating people in other countries, we may be able to give some of it back to the space program and find out. ( Aw shoot, I don’t wanna’ hit a nerve about that)
There is no hope like an old hope
July 26 2011
We are all creatures of our own memories. Without remembering where we have been, we cannot ever know where we must go. Trust to your memories to lead you along the right path, or if you choose to forget perhaps along the wrong path one more time.
I remember when life was as simple as scrapping up enough dirt off the road to Grandpa’s house to make a “speedway” for my little tootsie toy cars. Hours of FUN in the dirt. Damn if I wouldn’t like to do that again….
I have looked inside myself and firmly believe I have found the help I need. For if I cannot help myself first, then how can expect it from others? If I cannot ask myself the hard questions and stand the answers, I shouldn’t look to others for easy solutions. We all need help in this life, but most of what we need we already have.
June 23 2011
I have been talking about a lot of stuff lately…stuff that may or may not count. I wanted to share the way that I REALLY feel about life, so that if and when I say silly things on FB, just remember what I have said here.
It all began with one day…when there was a really beautiful Sunrise and Sunset…..
We have all seen them. Beautiful Sunrises. Mornings when the light turns dozens of colors behind a scant screen of clouds. Everything from muted purples to magentas, to bright blood red. How does a beautiful Sunrise make you feel?
For me the beginning of the day, which is signified by that marvelous sunrise, symbolizes a daily rebirth. A new beginning, a time when everything is new again and all options for doing things wonderful, useful, loving, and kind are open. It renews my soul. It tells me in no uncertain terms that I am alive, and that I have been treated to the sight of some of the most beautiful colors on God’s own palette. I give thanks for life and the chance to live it. To experience other people, people who I love and who love me. To touch another person, even to simply shake hands or to brush back the hair of my daughter, my granddaughter, or my wife from their foreheads is an experience that I will only get to enjoy once. Not in terms of the number of times that I touch them., but in terms of doing this act while in this life. Just this once, which I will remember in any case. Just this one opportunity to live and to feel the touch of the ones you really love.
I can taste food for another day and hear music. I don’t really even care what kind most of the time…I generally like it all. I get the privilege of talking and interacting with other people, most of the time in a positive manner. All of this starts with the beautiful Sunrise that I saw on the way to work yesterday.
Then that same evening, there was a stupendous Sunset. How does a gentle sunset make you feel?
The colors were a similar palette as was the Sunrise, but the feeling was different. Day was leaving. I felt peaceful. I felt content. My work for the day was done. I am at my home, my familiar place, my territory. I had accomplished all I could during the day and I was satisfied. Maybe I should have tried to do more, I feel that way practically every day. But in the awesome light of that Sunset I felt happy, tired but happy. I was glad to be home, and be with the ones that I love. My tasks that others would have me do were over. I would eventually lay down that night, and rest this body that God gave me, happy to have seen another day on this Earth.
Life and Death are like the sunrise and sunset. Both are beautiful in their own way, similar, yet vastly different. It’s what happens in between, what WE make happen in between that forms the legacy of our lives. It’s the appreciation of getting to see the sunrises and sunsets of other peoples lives that hopefully will make us appreciate our own and be less afraid of the final sunset that we all must come to one day. Not melancholy, but happy to have shined and to have enjoyed being in the light. I know I am!
We all fear the unknown, and not knowing what’s on the other side of that Sunset IS a bit scary. Even to those who are secure in their beliefs and solid in their convictions. I experience that tinge, we all probably do when we think about it. But I believe the soul goes on, and we are meant to all be together again. I am thankful for that.
June 19 2011
n the Webster’s dictionary a Father is defined as “one who has begotten a child, son or daughter, a generator, a male parent” I guess condensing it down into it’s simplest form, maybe Webster’s right in a really brief sort of way. But, being a REAL flesh and blood Father involves so much more than that. I haven’t always been the best or most “ideal” Father to my children. Mistakes were made. I wasn’t always right in some of the things I did…that’s for sure. Thinking back though, my Dad also made a lot of mistakes and still after all was said and done I loved him dearly and still do. I think what makes the difference even through the mistakes and missteps is caring! A child knows if you care of not. Mistakes can be forgiven when both child and parent have true love for each other. Fathers out there…make sure you care, make sure you love and set a good example for your children as much as possible. The rewards are so far beyond compare that there is only one other reward we can get that will be better, and that one is to meet our Heavenly Father one day, and thank him for all he gave use, and for loving us and caring enough for us to send HIS SON to die for us, so that we might live forever if we only believe.
June 14 2011
I love kids. Most of my life has been devoted to raising a handful of them. I feel like a lot of my children’s friends are my “kids” too. I see a lot of you here on FB, and it seems most of you turned out pretty decent.
Been going to Bible School the past couple of nights, and the little kids there are sure entertaining…I am even seeing the kids of my kids and their kids show up there…..it’s cool. It really gives you a connection to life and how it continues on no matter what, not matter if you’re there or not there.
Father’s day is this Sunday, and this is the 2nd one since my Dad passed away. He woulda’ been proud of all his “kids” too.
There is a pureness and innocence to most of them that I wish could be retained into adulthood. Jesus said: ” Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.”
Thanks to all the children for reminding me that life is to be lived and enjoyed, and that we don’t have to worry about the little things ALL the time. Sometimes it’s just whether you want mustard or ketchup on a corn dog that counts!
May 6 2011
I heard the song by Hugh Prestwood, “The Song Remembers When” on the way to Trade Day this morning.
Trisha Yearwood cut the song and it got played a gazillion times (still getting played and making Mr. Prestwood richer!)
I love that song though. It makes me think back through my life and realize that no matter what was happening, or when it happened, there was music in the “background” This music imprinted itself on my brain, along with the memory itself, whether good or bad that was happening at the time, and has become a part of the pattern of my life, against which my brain compares all things when deciding for me what I am going to be thinking about at any given moment.
Now that’s a whale of a statement, ain’t it? We think that WE control our brains, but I think it comes out being the other way around, don’t you? How many of us can keep our thoughts tuned onto one particular thing for more than just a few fleeting moments, before moving on to something else? Our thoughts are like fireflies on steroids, flitting around from place to place so quickly that we sometimes miss some of the landing spots. I guess that’s why we forget things.
Ahh…enough about the brain already, I get sidetracked!
When I think about the songs of my life, I have to start with Dean Martin, and whoever it was that cut the song “How Much is That Doggie in the Window” My folks had an old Philco Radio which I used to listen to religiously every day. (I gave it to Ted a few years. hope he gets it to play again someday) They only had a few records and I can remember the song about the “Doggie” like it was yesterday. “How much is that doggie in the window?” “The one with the waggly tail” “How much is that doggie in the window?” “I do hope that Doggie’s for sell.” And then there was “Amore” by Deano. I listened to that song thousands of times when I was five years old. “When the Moon hits your eye, Like a big Pizza pie, that’s Amore’” “When the stars seem to shine, like you’ve had too much wine, that’s Amore” Heck, I never knew what Amore was until I was a teenager and heard somebody use the term for love on some TV show! Maybe it was “Laugh In” I can’t remember that. All I know is that if I hear either of those two songs, or any of the others that were on those records, I am instantly transported back to 1955, and I am sitting in front of that old Philco radiantly enjoying the music.
The late 50’s and early 60’s were times of growing up, and also the BEST time for music in this century. (that’s my opinion anyway, and if that ain’t the truth then why are there so many “oldies” stations in the country still playing them, and why do my children and grandchildren know the lyrics to all of them as well as I do?) You had Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis competing with each other for the title of “swing King” A lot of people think Elvis won, but ol’ Jerry Lee wasn’t no slouch with “Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Fire!!” I never saw Elvis play the piano with his feet either, but he DID have some great Karate moves in those white suits! Every time I hear “Rock a Hoola Baby” it takes me back to my Little League Baseball days! The great thing about old Elvis was that he seemed to put out a movie a year there for while, and it was really something to look forward to. I couldn’t wait to see which female star would be opposite “The King” in his next Hollywood spectacular. Ann Margaret? Mary Tyler Moore??? Yep.
There were so many good time songs. I had a little band back then starting in about 1966, and we played every possible conceivable song under the sun. (our own version of course, and sometimes not very well) We learned it all. The Beatles (of course, I mean…look at half my t-shirts!) The Monkees, The Young Rascals, The Stones, The Animals, The Dave Clark Five (did they all start with “The”??!!) We covered them all and joyfully so, sometimes too joyfully!! It was the best of times. Looking back at it through the glasses of a 60 year old man, it was certainly very, very good. And it wasn’t just me. We all had those good times with that music didn’t we? I now even remember a lot of Motown tunes with fondness. It’s hard for me to believe that I am riding down the load some days singing along to “Baby Love”, but I do.
All of this has continued right on through those years and up until this very day. I remember “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” the night my daughter died, and I cry every time I hear it still. I remember “Saturday in the Park” the night my second daughter was born, and I still feel like dancing every time I hear it!
I reckon I have tried to pass this legacy on to my children. I bet they can’t remember the first time they heard me sit next to them and play the guitar and sing to them. A lot of “House of the Rising Sun” and “Puff the Magic Dragon” I am sure. But, what the heck. I think they all appreciate music though, and I have tried to do the same thing for all my Grandchildren. Evie Kay and I are practicing an acoustic version of the song “Bad Blue Jay” just about every day now. One of these days when we get it down pat, I’ll record it and maybe post it on Youtube!
When I hear “Poor Wayfaring Stranger” I think of my Grandmother, and “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be” makes me think of Grandpa, of whom I CANNOT remember the first time I sat next to him and listened to him sing hymns out of his old tattered hymnals and wave his hand around in the air in time to the music.
I went down to Church many a time with him and got up front and helped him “lead” music. I think I was four years old the first time I did that. When I grew to be a teenager and even on into my adult years, the older people who went to church there when I was little would come up to me and say “Do you remember getting up there with Jervis, and leading singing?” Yes I did, and yes I still do. There’s not many of them left now to ask that question, because four years old was a lifetime ago now. I think Ms. Patsy, the piano player at the church was the last person I remember who asked me that question. That, and I don’t get up to Blue Ridge and “home” anymore….
I guess there is significance there. You get what you give sometimes, and you give what you have gotten. I got so very, very much from the people who loved me when I was a child.
So, when you are riding down the road, or sitting around in your house and you hear “The Song Remembers When” by Hugh Prestwood, or any other song which makes your remember, or which makes you be wistful or happy,… be thankful that there are some folks in the world who want to help keep the world “alive” with the music which fills their hearts, souls and minds. I am one of those people. I can’t help it, it’s just as much a part of me as my arm or legs.
April 24 2011
Since today was Easter, I decided earlier in the week that I would polish my black shoes before going to church today. They were scuffed up something bad. You see, I’m not much of a shoe polisher anymore. There probably hasn’t been a bottle of black shoe polish in this house for YEARS!
I brought my shoes out to my chair, and opened up the bottle and put them on the nice little blue rug that sits in front of my chair. I took the top off of the polish, and opened it up. Suddenly, somewhere in the back of my head I heard a voice say:
“You better put down a piece of newspaper on that floor before you do that!” It was the voice of my Dad…coming out of so long ago. You see, my Dad believed in putting that newspaper down on the floor as you didn’t DARE get a drop of shoe polish on my Mom’s clean floor. He also believed in polishing your shoes EVERY week, especially since we generally had only one pair of shoes at a time for both school and weekends. Scuff ’em up during the week, and polish ’em up on Sunday morning before Church. Every Sunday morning, for so, so many years. After I grew up, I grew out of the habit.
I thought about getting up and grabbing a piece of last weeks Summerville News, an appropriate usage for that periodical. Nah…I said, I’ll be careful. I got through the fist shoe just fine…looking good. As I started on the second shoe the little foam top wasn’t putting out as much polish as I though it should so I pushed down on it. Mistake!! It slooshed out and about half off it ran off the shoe onto the rug. I finished polishing the shoe and went and got a rag and some Windex and did the best I could to get it up. Left a little black stain despite the best I could do.
I thought about getting some carpet cleaner, but I’m just going to leave the spot there. Every time I look at it I might just remember to do what Daddy tells me the next time. You might be able to ignore your “raisings” but you never forget ’em.
Happy Easter Dad and Mom….seeya’ again someday, and thanks for all the advice for those 60 years!!
April 9, 2011
The guitar and I go back a long way. I think I was 11 when Dad and I first went to the pawn shop in Rome and looked at guitars. I wanted a Bass (wanted to be in the band y’know) but I came away with a Kay scroll side acoustical guitar, with strings that were about ½ inch above the fret.
Now anybody who has ever played a guitar knows that the “action” of the strings, i.e. the closer they are to the frets and the neck of the guitar, the easier they are to press down and get a sound out of, and thus the easier the instrument is to play. ½ inch is a LONG way for a beginner, especially with metal strings. I found out after I had owned the guitar for several weeks that the strings could be adjusted down. By that time, I had permanent calluses on ALL the fingers on my left hand…which have never, never gone away. This is the way you can tell a real guitarist though. Let somebody pick up a guitar and plunk away on it for a half hour and then they start looking at the tops of their fingers like “damn that hurts” NEWBIE! Either that, or they wienie out and go to a Spanish guitar with nylon strings and say “I want to be like Segovia” Well, if you want to be like Andres Segovia, you better plan on practicing 12 to 14 hours a day and have natural talent to begin with to boot. There are NOT many Segovia’s, or even Chet Atkins for that matter. Some people have it, and some people don’t. You can teach yourself, or be taught to play a guitar, but you can’t be taught to be a Segovia or an Atkins. That kind of talent has to be in the genes. But…in any case…as I was saying, the metal makes the man when it comes to guitars, and if you ain’t got the calluses, don’t whine!
I had three guitar lessons before my Dad figured out it was too much of a pain to take me all the way 6 miles down the road to Summerville, especially since I wasn’t much interested in learning how to finger pick “Red River Valley” or any other country tune from the 1940’s. I finally ended up doing it the way I have done almost everything else in my life…I learned it on my own. I looked at a book and got the chords down pat and then just started practicing them over and over again. I watch other people who knew how to play do their thing, and picked up some things from them. Mostly I did my own thing though.
I don’t pick up any of my guitars as often as I should. I have three or four of them sitting around. (And yes, one of them is a Spanish guitar that my wife got me for a Wedding present! Thing about it is, I HAD the calluses before I got this guitar so when I play it, I don’t feel like a wienie) This past week when I was feeling like crap, I picked my guitar up off the bed and just sat down and started to play. For me, at least right now, it’s still comes easy. My brain sends those long ago learned and practiced chords and notes down through the nerve endings in my fingers and the music starts to come out of the guitar. It’s like a small miracle really. I can’t remember what I had for supper last night, but I can still play “Down Yonder” or “Wildwood Flower” like it was 1963! Over forty years and my brain still remembers! I think the day I pick up the guitar and I can’t remember the chords or the notes that I learned so long ago is going to be a VERY sad day. I really hope it never happens. There is such a bond between a player and their instrument, that if that bond is broken, it would be almost like a death of dear friend. Oh how much you would mourn that loss! I know the look in my Grandfather’s eyes back years ago when he would pick up that banjo that he had played for years and couldn’t quite get the music to come out the way it did before. It was a sad and confused look. A pitiful look. It wasn’t too long after that when Grandpa had to go to the nursing home because he really couldn’t remember anything anymore. Or anybody. I pray to the creator that I don’t go that route. One of the first songs I wrote when I took up songwriting was about Grandpa and his banjo. It’s called “Blue Ridge Mountain Symphony.” I have a good demo of the song, maybe one of these days I will get it on the site so folks can listen to it.
I really think that the fact that man decided to pick up some pieces of wood and put cat guts on it, or thump on a hollow log and call it music, was one of the things that eventually differentiated us from all the other creatures that our creator made. I can’t recall seeing any animal but a human pick up a musical instrument and play it. (ok…they train chimps to do it…but that’s different, they don’t give a hoot….or perhaps that’s an ooh..ooh…ooh…about what they are doing! Man is the only creature who has made a connection with things musical, and I think that is one of the only real connections we have with divinity. I really think God enjoys music. He digs dancing too…remember when David danced before God, and he was pleased? We sell God short sometimes I think, imagining that ALL he is, is this stern and terrible judge sitting behind a judge’s bench with a big gavel, ready to convict us of all our sins and send us straight to blazes.
Anyway, I digress. So the other day when I continued to play, I also started humming some familiar tunes to the chords. Peter, Paul and Mary were remembered of course, with “Jet Plane,” and “Puff the Magic Dragon” I covered Peter and Gordon with “I Go to Pieces” I stepped forward with “The Ones the Wolfs Brought Down” a song that Garth Brooks recorded which never made to the singles chart, but in my opinion certainly should have. I went through “Stepping Stone” which Paul Revere and the Raiders, and the Monkees covered. I did “Friends in Low Places” because that’s just how I felt! Then I just sat there for half an hour more making up little runs and tunes from the Blues to Rock and Roll. I found a couple of riffs I really liked and just played them over and over, hoping I might remember them if I ever get near a recorder again, and want to put down something new. I really wish I had the time. I feel like I have cheated something or somebody sometimes because I haven’t been as “creative” as I should have been. When do you have time to be creative? Seems like back in the 80’s I had a hell of a lot more time to write and create and try to do things that might be some kind of “legacy” Now I’m not so sure about legacies anyway. Who’s really going to care? Is it something my children and grandchildren would REALLY want to sit down and take time to listen to, or will they get into the same rut as I seem to be in now, which leaves you with no time to do anything but work, eat and sleep and a few minutes on the weekend to catch up with your chores. I swear to goodness, I can never remember the days being so crammed full of stuff that the only time I pick my guitar up and play it is when I am at home sick, and my chest is feeling funny and I have these strange little twinges, and I need some solace from somewhere.
How I do go on about a piece of wood with some string pulled across it, don’t I? But yet, there IS something mystical in our relationship with our instruments, just like there is in our relationships with other people. I know for a fact, I pick up guitars at stores and flea markets and stuff and strum them and they seem like “strangers” to me. The sounds that come out are not as comforting as they are from my familiar instruments, especially my 40 year old Classical guitar my wife gave me as a wedding present. The sounds I get from her are like recordings from years past of all the things, people and places which have I have experienced while I have owned her. (yes the guitar is feminine!) Those memories which are stored there could not come from some “newcomer” It’s like your family. I know we meet and enjoy new friends…especially those with common memories of things that we have experienced, but no one has the connections that your family has to you. That’s why my family is so special to me.
Well…I guess I may go pick up the guitar and plunk on it a while. I hope I haven’t bored everyone to death with my ramblings. I’ll leave you with this from the late George Harrison:
look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps
I don’t know why nobody told you how to unfold your love
I don’t know how someone controlled you
They bought and sold you.
I look at the world and I notice its turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps
I don’t know how you were diverted
You were perverted too
I don’t know how you were inverted
No one alerted you.
I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
Look at you all…
Still my guitar gently weeps
April 7 2011
Today is a day for change, and only WE can decide to make a change in ourselves. Nobody else is going to, or has the ability to change you unless you want it. Other people can affect you, but NOT change you. Nobody else has to know you have pledged yourself to change. They will know by your actions. We cannot remain the same and expect the world to get better!
Mar 23 2011
I feel like Summer is just around the corner. As the calendar starts to near the end of March, I always start to look for it, start to feel it in my bones. Maybe it’s because the days start getting a little longer and a little warmer. Maybe it’s because they start talking about the Baseball trades that are happening on the sports reports. Opening Day is just a few days away! I feel the butterflies start to swim around in my stomach.
I tell you, spring and summer were the best times back in the 50’s and 60s’. None of that year round school for us old timers! May 31 rolled around, and it’s see ya’ later to the teachers until the first week of September….Yahooo!!
I would go to the old wooden toy box back in my room, and starting digging down to the bottom, looking for my old worn out, smelly leather baseball glove with “Pee Wee” Reece’s name engraved in it. I don’t know how I ended up with Pee Wee, as I never played a lick of ball in the infield. I was always an outfielder.
I tried out for third base once, but after I had stopped the first four hard bouncer’s that came my way with my face instead of my glove, the coach thought it might be safer to put me in left field. I agree with his decision.
I liked left field. It was one of those positions where you could kind of day dream a little. Most everything that came out that way was either an easy pop fly, or a one bouncer. I was a cinch at catching those. None of that “hot corner” stuff for me.
I once was standing out in left field during a game and looking down at the ground trying to spot any four leaf clovers that might be growing there. I heard the loud crack of the bat, and looked up to see the baseball headed over my head. Way over my head. I didn’t want to look completely stupid, so I turned around and stuck my old glove out and ran as fast as I could towards the fence. The ball dropped right into the webbing of my glove. I never saw it until it did. I heard a cheer go up from the stands, and when we came in, I got more pats on the back, and attaboys then I had ever gotten before. I just said “I had it all the way” I could never bring myself to disappoint all those people by telling them it was just pure luck.
The other great thing about warm weather was spring lizard and craw dad hunting at Grandpa’s and Grandma’s house. When warm weather hit, we would go up there a lot more often. It was difficult during the winter time, because there were only two bedrooms downstairs at their house, which meant the remainder of the guests, had to sleep upstairs. During the winter time, sleeping upstairs was just like sleeping outside. There was NO heat. I spent many a winter night with 10 quilts piled on top of me, unable to turn over, but desperately trying to conserve what little body heat was emanating from me in order to be alive the next morning. I always managed to do it somehow.
So, besides at Christmas, I didn’t like Winter time visiting at the old folk’s house!
But with spring and warm weather coming, there was the promise of fishing, and in order to fish there had to be bait. This meant my favorite activities of digging in the dirt for worms, and turning over the rocks down in the little fast running creek in front of the folk’s house for Spring lizards and Crawdads.
The only draw back to trying to catch a bucket full of these water dwelling creatures was that they were also favorites of the snakes that prowled the banks of that same creek. I was never really too afraid of snakes when I was a kid until after my Grandpa’s Uncle “Lark” Davenport killed a rattlesnake one day that he stretched across the old dirt road leading up to Grandpa’s house. He stuck its head end in the bank on one side, and its tail end in the dirt bank on the other side. Now, that little old road was narrow, but I estimate it was at least 7 feet across, so my respect for the snakes in those parts increased tremendously after that. I asked Uncle “Lark” how he killed it, and told me he cut its head off with a hoe while he was out in his corn crib. Apparently the rattler was stocking up on some of the rats that always frequented that place. “If he hadn’t been a rattler I’d have let him be,” said Uncle Lark. I’d have let him be anyway, I think. He would have owned the corn crib after that. Rats and all.
Some of those spring lizards that we used to catch back then were as big as small snakes. Imagine turning over a big old rock, and seeing something black wiggling around that’s about a foot long. Would you stick your hand down in there and grab it? I sure did, and laughed about it the whole time. “If the bass don’t bite that,” I thought “then it might bite the bass!” Either way, we get the fish.
The crawdads were harder to catch then the spring lizards. Have you ever seen one of those little boogers take off? They are like a backwards rocket! I don’t know how they do it, but when they get scared they shoot water out their rear ends, start flapping their tails and away they go. You had to be good at estimating where they were GOING to be, not where they had been, in order to catch them. I never had the least idea that humans ate those things when I was a kid. The first time I went to Louisiana as an adult, and someone tried to serve me a dish made with Crawdads, I got kind of nauseated. After I tasted it though, it wasn’t half bad. I kind of like Etouffe’ now.
Yep, that’s how I feel today since there is a little warmth in the air. That little old creek is still there, but I don’t know what the new owners of the land would think about an old man tromping down the middle of their creek with a Styrofoam bucket and yelling yahoo every time he came up with a lizard. I wonder if there are even any left?
Mar 20 2011
Everybody is equal below ground
People should remember that bad deeds are like boomerangs with barbs.
When I was a little child, I always thought I would grow up and be the best in the world at something. For some reason, it didn’t work out that way.
I can think of dozens of things that I am adequate at. Some things I have ended up getting fairly good at. But that elusive “best” has always been out of my reach.
Obviously, at 60 years old I can now give up on becoming the Best hitter in the Major leagues, or winning the Masters 4 times. I can forget running in the Olympics. That career in professional singing is out the door for sure. The old throat just ain’t what it used to be.
I tried my hand at songwriting, and novel writing. Not working out well for me.
I feel sorta’ like the theme song from “Cops” “Whatcha’ gonna do when they come for you?”
Old Satchel Paige was an African American baseball player, who could have been the best pitcher in history. He was born before his time though, and never got to pitch in the Major leagues until he was in his sixties. He was still magnificent, even at that age. He had a saying about looking behind you though. “Just keep on goin’ forward” he would say “and don’t look back, cause something might be catchin’ up with you!”
I am beginning to think that something is catching up to me, but I DO NOT want to look behind me!
Yep, I could have been the best in the world at SOMETHING. But that’s in the past. So I will go on ahead and do the best I can do in the time I have left. Isn’t that what we all should do?
I heard on the radio last week about a scientist who was going around the Oceans of the world, and taking samples of the water and testing it for microorganisms. Turns out, he was finding thousands of new ones that nobody knew existed. You would probably not really be surprised by that, but at about the same time they announced they had discovered a new breed of big cat in the jungles of Borneo…a new kind of Leopard! Amazing!
If you can think about life itself, and you are NOT amazed, then I think something is wrong. I never CEASE to be amazed every day, and every night by the life all around me on this planet. My curiosity about whether or not there is life like what we have in other parts of the Universe is so high! I wish there was a way to find out.
To think that we live on a planet that abounds with SO much life, all the way from those tiny microorganisms to the beautiful deep jungle Leopards is mind boggling. We read and hear about how life IS endangered and will BE endangered by such things as human overpopulation, wars, Global warming, threats from interstellar disasters such a huge meteors and comets…and it sometimes makes it seem as if all life is going to cease to exist. But, I don’t think so. I think this planet; this Mother Earth is one of a kind.
I think that if we could somehow look a billion years into the future of our planet that there would still be life here. Life IS fragile, but for some reason THIS particular planet was created to foster and nurture life, like no other one. (That we know of anyway)
So, I think that life will find a way. I hope that it is HUMAN life that continues to find a way. I pray that we can grow past the point where we have to solve our problems through war, murder and all other types of bad ways that humanity has invented over the past ever how many thousands of years. If we can do this… perhaps when that billion year point comes, WE will be reaching out to those other stars and galaxies that we stand in awe of every night when we look up into the sky and WE can bring peaceful life to those places that don’t already have it.
That would be a wonderful thing wouldn’t it?
I can’t begin to tell you how hectic the last few weeks have been.
There’s a lot going on with in my personal life right now, as some of you may know.
There’s a lot still going on in our world, as all of us should know.
As I begin to take a look at all things, I am finding of course that I refer more to the past than the future. I guess it’s because unless I live to 112 years old (which is possible, but not likely) I am already well into the last 1/3 of my life. I look back more than I look forward. The present seems to pass by way, way to quickly into that past. Days are blurred. I can’t remember what the date is a lot of times. I guess it really doesn’t matter though. I feel like life is marked by events, not by dates. When I remember things, both good and bad, I usually don’t remember them “by date” but more by what was happening.
I couldn’t tell you exactly what the date was when the U.S. cleared out of Viet Nam. But all the images are burned into my image.
I don’t remember what day it was when my oldest son nearly got his arm torn off in a machine at work, but I can damn well tell you I remember coming into the office where he was sitting, before the ambulance even got there, and seeing the bones sticking up out of his arm.
I don’t remember what year the Christmas was that my daughter marched out of her bedroom, sat down at her brand new little table and chairs that Santa had brought her (without even noticing they were there!) and demanded in her stentorian voice: “I want my Breakfast!”
I can’t remember the date my youngest son fell off a horse he was riding out in Idaho, but I was so scared he was going to break his neck I couldn’t even yell.
I just don’t know that dates are all that important. Its life that happens and what happens that matters.
I am joyous and hopeful for my children and grandchildren and for my younger friends. I wish for them all the possibilities and opportunities which I have had and more. I wish for them more success than I have had in many areas. I wish them fewer struggles with tough problems.
When I was young, I thought for sure I would grow up and be a singer, or a writer. I even entertained the thought of teaching. But, it didn’t happen. I am what I am. (With apologies to Popeye the Sailor man) Life turned me this way. I am giving up on being a movie star, pop singer, best selling author, and millionaire financier. I am going to just continue to be me, and hope that it’s enough.
I think maybe that if I can do that, then I will realize how lucky I have really been. Guess I will be thinking that over this year when I watch ol’ Jimmy Stewart running down the streets of Bedford Falls!!
Without a doubt, much of what we think we know is false. Even being as “smart” as we humans think we are we don’t even know everything about our own bodies. When we move out from there, into the world around us, and eventually into the Universe that surrounds us, our knowledge becomes exponentially less and less.
There are SO many theories on how the Universe started, where it’s headed and how it’s going to end. Some of them are theological in nature, and some are scientific. None of them are right, probably not even near right.
I shudder when I think about how little I know. I have to take most things I do every day on faith. I have faith when I plug in the coffee machine that it is going to make me a cup of coffee. If it didn’t, I don’t have the knowledge to tear it apart and remake it so that it would. If I put my key in the car, and turn the switch and it doesn’t start, most of the time I wouldn’t know what to do. When I had my heart attack, I couldn’t fix my arteries. Of course there are people who DO know how to fix these things, and it’s a good thing too. Otherwise, most of use would be in a heap of trouble.
But, even those people who are “technologically” smart, don’t have all the answers. Every few years or so, a new theory comes out about how the Universe began. Of course, all religions would acknowledge that it was ‘created’ if you will, by God. A thinking consciousness started the ball rolling and made use what we are today. Makes sense to us as humans, because WE are conscious thinking creatures. That’s what separates us from the rest of the creatures….at least so we “think” ( I am not so sure sometimes, when my little dog plays me for a sucker that she is not “thinking” about what she is doing) I guess there is all different levels of thinking, and I am SURE that we are not in ANY way close to the “thinking” if that is what it is, of a consciousness so powerful it could create the Universe.
Now secularists have a harder time trying to explain how something like the Universe started on it’s on. I read somewhere a few weeks back that they think all the matter that it took to get the Universe started, could be compressed down into a ball the size of a basketball, but that it would weigh some astronomically heavy weight. Some basketball! When this thing decided to explode and start the Universe, it continually spread from a central point and made us what we are today. The scientists can look at light coming in from outside our Galaxy that took billions of years to get here. That’s cool. When we look up in the sky at night, and see the stars, we are not really seeing what is happening at the moment we are looking, but what happened years and sometimes hundreds or thousands of years ago and is just now reaching us. For all we know, some of those stars could be, and probably are, gone. Mind boggling ain’t it?
Well, I just don’t believe that either group has ALL the right answers. I personally believe the Universe was created, and didn’t just happen, but I don’t even PRETEND to understand the type of intellect it would take to do it.
I know that we have had books and bibles, and documents from the beginning of the time that man learned how to write, with all the theories about how things happened. All of those came from the minds of man, and have been shaped by the mind of man down through the centuries. None of them are accurate. I don’t think that we even know how to define accurate.
Now, don’t go all funny on me, and think I am being sacrilegious. I’m not. I don’t go around telling people what to believe, OR that what they believe isn’t right. I don’t have the right to do that, and neither does anyone else. There are, however, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. who would disagree with me. All of those religions consider that they have been given the innate approval, by the being that created the Universe to tell everyone that there way of thinking is the only one that is correct. I happen to disagree with them. There may be some correctness in all of them. Being a Christian, I personally believe in that philosophy and some may think it is a conflict of teaching that I would state I don’t believe in telling OTHER people what to believe, but I don’t. Everyone has to decide for themselves, and I think on that particular point that the being that created us, God if you will, has been totally succinct. You choose for yourself whether to be good or bad, light or dark. This choice is yours no matter what your religion or philosophy.
I think we will all find out one day, of course. I think that God would be totally unfair to just leaving us hanging about the answer to things. Of course, I could be wrong about that too. We may go to Heaven, or we may lay unconscious of the passing of time until we come back around in the endless cycle of the Universes coming and going. We MAY know nothing, and that’s that. I highly doubt this to be the case, but….