September Song

September 4th is a hard day for Paula and I. This is the day 48 years ago when our first child died after only living two days. She was perfect when she was born, with a head full of dark hair and a beautiful little face.

When she got sick, I didn’t know what to do, or how to handle the situation.  I was still just a kid, short of 20 years old by a month and a half.

We visited her grave on Sunday and got to talking about her.  Paula had the thought… What if she had lived?  What if?

If she had lived, everything we are now as a family, and everything we know would be totally different. Totally.

It’s like the plot from so many different science fiction movies and television shows, where someone goes back into the past and changes an event. Someone dying. Someone getting married or even just getting sick.

Then, when they get back to the future, in their own time, things are so totally different that it’s beyond belief. It’s like the “butterfly” effect that everyone talks about.  That’s the theory where if a butterfly flaps its wing hard halfway around the world, it can call large scale changes eventually. It’s a little bit of a complex theory, but pertinent in this case. The “Chaos” theory.

The effects of our daughter living would have been tremendous.  Would we have had more children?  I’m sure we would, because we wanted a family

We certainly would have waited past 1972, when our wonderful daughter Kirsten was born though.  She would have never existed, because when we decided to have another child it would have been at another point in time. The child we would have made would have had a totally different genetic makeup.

Therefore, there would probably been no Kirsten and Stacy…no sweet little Rue, Livy or Jessy. It would have been a “different” family….perhaps anyway.  Stacy’s the same age as Karrie Lynn would have been…

Yes, I’m sure we would have had more children, but they wouldn’t have been Ted and Matt.

Would I have stayed in Athens and worked at Westinghouse, instead of moving to Trion and raising our family there?  Would we have moved to Idaho? Who knows what could have happened.

The changes would have been far reaching, but….if Karrie Lynn had lived we would have never known any differently . We would have loved her and raised her the best we could, along with whoever came along as brother or sister. We would have been just as happy, I’m sure, because it would have been what was meant to be.  We’d never have known what we’ve known now as our life.

What was meant to be…….happened as it happened though.

I would loved for our first child to have lived and had a life beyond two days, but as I said in a post I wrote a few months back, that two days was her life.  It was her entire life.

I love my family just as they are. None of us are perfect, and I’ve certainly made mistakes in some of the steps I’ve taken in life, but I would not change my life….not one iota of it. When I am gone, it will be as it was meant to be, and I want everyone know right now, I have loved my life and everyone in it.

I believe then I’ll see our first daughter again somehow, in some manner and that meeting will be joyous beyond description.

Trade Days


Back in the early 70’s I moved back to Trion. It was 1974 to be exact. Kirsten was only two years old. Ted was still a couple of years on down the line and Matt wasn’t even thought about yet. I worked in the mill as a supervisor back then and those were the high water days of denim. We were working 7 days a week with only Christmas day off. It was grueling.

One of the things the denizens of the mill liked to do back then was trade knives. Yep, you heard me right. While we were watching the denim run through the sanforizers we would dicker and argue over knives, whose was the best, and if we would get a dollar or two boot for the one we wanted. Case was the big name maker, and the bone handled ones were the most sought after. I collected quite a few knives in my four years there.

Somewhere along about the late 70’s some guys got the idea to start congregating down at the Triangle shopping center to trade knives and some other stuff, and Trade Day in Chattooga country was born. It lasted there for a year or two and then when they didn’t want it there anymore, it moved down to it’s current spot halfway between Trion and Summerville. Jane owned it and then later on it was Jane and Larry.

Since those humble beginnings of “knife swapping” Trade Days and Flea markets have proliferated throughout America for the last nearly forty years. People in this country buy lots of stuff and then they end up having a lot of stuff they don’t need. You could also find some good bargains back in the “day” A lot of folks starting “specializing” in different kinds of things: knives, coins, jewelry, military, clothes, books, china, pottery, etc. and would have the “best of the best” in those areas of collection. You would learn who would have what, and would make a trip to see them every week on Tuesdays and Saturdays (around here, other places had/have theirs on different days) There was some good collectibles back then. I collected everything I think. Starting with the knives which I held onto for many years, then to baseball cards, and comic books, and hot wheels, marbles, and jewelry. I did a lot of trading and buying and some selling. I have met so many wonderful people over the years at Trade Day and other flea markets. I’ve become good friends with so many of them. It’s been a great hobby and pastime. I’ve had a very patient and wonderful wife, who has put up with a lot of “junk” coming and going over the years.

Over the past 5 years or so, the Trade Day and other flea markets have changed. The atmosphere is just not the same anymore….at least for me.

What you used to see years ago were local people coming down in their cars with their excess stuff in the trunk with maybe one table and just being there to get rid of things they didn’t want, or maybe the stuff that belonged to their folks or grandfolks that they didn’t need or want anymore. Nowadays pretty much all you see are the “pros” These are the dealers who come there every week, week after week, with pretty much either the same items, or the same items with a few new things thrown in. They have their five or six tables, their trucks and trailers. They have banners and flyers. Some of them travel the country, or at least regionally selling the same items.

Then you have the “storage wars” folks. These are the people who buy out storage buildings that the people who bought too much stuff back in the seventies and eighties have put it in, and then couldn’t pay their rent, or didn’t want to pay their rent. They bring big truckloads of everything imaginable in cardboard boxes, and lay it out on the ground and people go through it, hold something up and say “how much is this?” The guy who owns it shouts out a price and you either buy it, or put it back. Most of time I totally skip these guys as most of the “good” stuff has been pulled out by them before they come to the market and they sell “the good stuff” to high dollar collectors or scrap the gold and silver jewelry for cash. I just don’t like digging through those boxes. I’ve seen people’s entire lives, including their personal belongings, their family photos, their clothes and possessions, including their i.d., sold out down at Trade day. It’s sad.

Also, now there are the new “grocery wars” guys who buy the slightly out of date, or nearly out of date stuff, the excess stuff, and the returned stuff and bring huge truckloads of it to the market to sell out. I’ll admit, I get my coffee and some other stuff from these guys. Whey pay full retail, when you can get the stuff for pennies on the dollar? This is the place where I see a lot of retirees and people who work for minimum wage at the local burger joints or for Walmart. One of the ways these folks live is by “shopping” at the flea markets and Trade days…as they have evolved into something of a “super variety” store for the poor. (Along with the big Salvation Army Stores, and the Goodwill stores…which is where I buy most of my clothes and other things I really need for daily use)

All that being said, I still go on Tuesdays and Saturdays. I’ve picked up so much junk over the years that I need to get rid of that I got to! I’ll probably keep going until I can’t go anymore because it just sort of gets in the blood. It’s not the same as it used to be, but….what is?

Imaginary Shortcomings

When someone can convince you, through their words and actions and through the words and actions of others who they have manipulated or influenced, that you had something which belonged to you, but it was unfairly taken away by others who did not deserve to have it, it will anger you. Sometimes, depending on the length and power of the assault upon people’s sensibilities, and the playing on their raw emotions, the anger can be considerable.

Even if the thing that you thought you had, which was unrighteously taken from you by those who did not deserve to have it…never even really existed….you can be convinced it did, and that it was the most important thing you ever owned.

People can be convinced to fight and die for this figment of their imagination. They can be convinced to hate and despise those who are different from them because of this fictional ideal. Then they will stand back and really think, and will be unable to remember what it was they were convinced they lost.

They’ll still be angry though.