I’m Better!

I remember saying to myself several times in the past year that because of all the walking I have been doing, that I’m in pretty good shape. Maybe I could even go back to work…get a full time job.

My balloon is shot down yesterday as I get out in my yard and do some digging, and leaf raking, and moving bricks and rocks around. I find my heart racing a couple of times, and had to sit down and take a couple of breaks. Mind you, there was no pain. The four new vessels my heart surgeon sewed into my chest five years ago still seem to be working well. But, the dream of doing “real work” anymore is just that…a dream. The truth is that I could probably actually DO the physical parts, but it’s the stress which I couldn’t take. Let me explain.

My jobs over the past 20 years before I was forced to retire for health reasons, have been ones where performance at the highest level was required. I was in charge of the quality of products going to demanding customers. I was constantly under pressure to make sure things were perfect. There were always tense meetings with company executives and customer reps. Looking back now, I firmly believe the thing which actually caused my heart disease was being under constant anxiety, which recent research has proven to be true. I would have therefore been better off digging ditches, and exercising my heart muscle than I was doing what I was doing.

But…that’s water under the bridge, because I did what I did…what I had to do in order to “make a living”. My advice to anyone out there working now though, is to try anyway possible, no matter what you do as a job or career, to somehow to reduce your stress.

You don’t wanna end up like me…sitting at the bottom of your steps with your heart beating out of your chest, knowing that the best you can do is to maintain the status quo. There is no miraculous way this body of mine is going to “improve”. Only working diligently every day, walking and meditating is gonna keep me living. That, and perhaps the increasing skills of the medical world. The funny thing is, that without the previous anxiety I had, I feel pretty good about my chances of staying around for a good bit longer. I want all you younger people out there to know about the dangers of anxiety though.

Do whatever you can to reduce it…you will live longer and healthier.

A Tribute to Life

A Tribute to Life.

Walking into the warm westward blowing wind this afternoon early, with the sun breaking through the thick gray clouds, I have never felt more alive. Yet I thought if I could let my soul slip away, in that one tiny silver of a sublime moment, I might do it.

But I still have much to do, and many to hold. I still can give of myself without regret, so I will wait for that one day in the future when the same wind blows and the sun shines bright and I am truly ready to go.


This is March 2017. In March 2010, my Daddy was still alive, and although in an assisted living care home, was still ok. By ok, I mean that he was still communicating pretty well even though he had Lewy Body’s dementia…or rather, he was dying from it…had been dying from it for several years.

I was talking to him about possibly getting out once the weather warmed up. It had been cold that winter. “I’d like to go fishing, at Billy Locklear’s lake”. He said.

“Maybe we can manage that, about May,” I said. “It’ll be warmer then”.

Of course, work got harder. The second shift an hours drive away from home, kept me hopping. Leave at 2pm to get there by three, and get home after midnight. Recover on the weekends. Of course, that’s just an excuse. There was one weekend in April that was splendid. I visited Mom and Dad, but we didn’t think about going fishing. We talked about other things. Time got away.

Daddy died from complications of that Lewy body dementia on May 22nd. So, we never got to go fishing that one last time. It bothers me still every time I think about it. It was a pretty simple request, but one that I should have made a better effort to do.

So, about four years later, after I had gotten over my heart attack and surgery, I bought a fishing license and a rod and reel, and went down to the Chattooga river and caught a couple of big bream. I didn’t keep them, but just caught them and let them go. As I released the last one, I said: “this one is for you Dad”.

I cut the fishing hook off the line, and drove to the cemetery and laid it on the top of Dad’s tombstone. I hope that sufficed. That’s the last time I went fishing.

There’s a photo of that fish somewhere back on my timeline. You might have seen it. I was holding it up still on the hook. If I find it…I’ll add it to this post. It was a fine little fish….

People of Honor

I’ve known some honorable people in my life, but not as many as one might think.

Many people have some honor, but not many have great honor.

When an honorable person speaks, they speak the truth, even when what they say is not popular. They do this while trying to be kind.

An honorable person is also loyal, even when they are tempted by money or other types of personal rewards, to be disloyal. Honor trumps dishonesty.

An honorable person has empathy for others, even if they are an opponent, or someone with whom they have little in common. No one with true honor thinks that anyone is beneath them because of any physical, cultural, financial, or religious differences.

A person with honor will give of themselves or their resources with no expectations of receiving anything in return. Many times they give anonymously.

An honorable person will stand up for what they think is right, but will listen openly to the opinions of others, and may be convinced to change their mind, if enough good evidence is presented. Being honorable does not mean being intractable.

A truly honorable person will be able to forgive others for almost anything, while seeking forgiveness when they have wronged others. Being strong does not preclude forgiveness or contrition.

It has been said that the “knights of old” were the most honorable of men.

While there are still “knights” of honor in our day and age, they are few and far between, and getting even more rare with every passing day.