Where the north wind meets the sea
There’s a river full of memory
Sleep, my darling, safe and sound
For in this river all is found
In her waters, deep and true
Lay the answers and a path for you
Dive down deep into her sound
But not too far or you’ll be drowned
Yes, she will sing to those who’ll hear
And in her song, all magic flows
But can you brave what you most fear?
Can you face what the river knows?
Where the north wind meets the sea
There’s a mother full of memory
Come, my darling, homeward bound
When all is lost, then all is found

On being a Pacifist

To set your mind purposefully to hurt another human being physically or mentality, unless it is in defense of yourself or family, is a sorry thing.

With what little time we have here on Earth, why do we always seem to be at odds with each other over something, and mostly those somethings are none of our business anyway. What harm is a little tolerance and a little balance from all!

What person in history has always had their own way in everything? What person was created more or less equal than another? We are all born and we all die…of that we are certain, but it is what we do in between which defines us. Use kindness first, and if that doesn’t work, then move on to somewhere where it does.

Try a little harder to get along.

Resurrection

The definition of Resurrection:

res·ur·rec·tion (rz-rkshn)
n.
1. The act of rising from the dead or returning to life.
2. The state of one who has returned to life.
3. The act of bringing back to practice, notice, or use; revival.
4. Resurrection Christianity
a. The rising again of Jesus on the third day after the Crucifixion.
b. The rising again of the dead at the Last Judgment.

If it’s in Webster’s dictionary, it has to be true.
The seminal belief of a person who calls themselves a Christian has to, it has to involve this. If there is no resurrection there is no basis for Christianity. We may disagree on many, many other things having to do with the nature of our beliefs, and God allows us to do that. All the hows, whys, variations, arguments, different practices, bells, whistles and sermons mean nothing without Christ’s proof that death can be overcome. I don’t know exactly what things are going to be like after I die, but I know that one day I will….we all will be resurrected. Let us love others as Christ loved us, let us drive away hate and intolerance. If Christ could ask from the cross for forgiveness for the VERY people who were crucifying him what should WE do. Have a wonderful day everyone.

Flashbacks to 1974

Being really tired after driving ten hours today (my choice…as Paula offered) but being that tired and then eating a quick bite, I went out to walk. I don’t know why, but I had a quick and fleeting thought that I should call my Dad and let them know we got back ok……

Why did I think that?? It’s will be five years in May since Daddy died, and I thought I should call? I shook it off, and continued to walk around this old mill town. “Why did I ever stay here?” I wondered

My Dad called me, back in the summer of 1974. He knew I wasn’t liking my new job fresh out of school, and liked living in Toccoa even less. Kirsten was two and the apartments we were living in were terrible. Our cat “Hector” had gotten run over and killed. The security was awful. I couldn’t envision raising our little girl there.

Dad had talked to some people, and I had a job as a “management trainee” if I wanted it. I thought about it.

Could I make a good life in a cotton mill town for my little family? The schools were good. I knew people. I called my Dad back: “I’ll take the job” I said. So we moved back “home”

I am not sure it was a perfect decision. We have ridden the roller coaster. I know my wife has had a difficult time in some ways. I know many people here. I grew up here. She knew nobody, and in a small town that’s a problem. I am so sorry that many times she was “Larry’s wife” That’s not much of a description for the clever and caring person who keeps me straight.

I had my problems over the years with jobs, with finances, with so many things. So, I called Dad a lot for advice and help. He never once…not once…refused to help me. He chewed my ass out, yes even as a young adult, if he thought it was necessary. It was. Certainly at times it was. Whenever we went off for a vacation or a long stay he’d tell me to call when we got back. “Just for peace of mind”

So I guess that’s where that flashback came from this afternoon. Either that, or part of his spirit still inhabits this one horse town we call home. I’m not so certain that’s not so, as Rue and Eli seem to “know” him…having both looked at his picture and called him “Papa” or “Tarpy” without having been told who he was. Who knows. Not me for sure…

Spaceship Earth

There is only one Earth, and as far as I know we are all passengers on it…or in it.

I am sure that our ancestors thought the resources of the Earth were everlasting. I am sure that our ancestors thought that there was nothing which they…tiny inhabitants of this giant world…could do to affect the Earth. In 1700 there was only 600 million people inhabiting the Earth. We didn’t hit 1 billion people on the Earth until sometime around the American Civil War era.

Now we have somewhere around 7.5 billion people as passengers on this planet.

Every piece of plastic which was ever made still exists somewhere on the Earth. A lot of it resides in the Oceans of the world. If you go down to the beach, you will see some of it…I guarantee you. As large as the oceans our world are, they are becoming gigantic trash receptacles for human waste of all manner and description.

Six years ago in March, a huge earthquake hit Japan. It damaged a nuclear power plant near Fukishima, which had a partial meltdown. Since then 80% of the nuclear material which spilled from that plant has gone into the Pacific ocean. Forget about the hundreds of thousands of tons of “junk” which has washed up on the shores of Alaska. That’s going to be minor compared to the damage to the ecosystem which that radiation, which continues to spill into the Pacific ocean, is going to do to our ecosystem. Try to comprehend that there are 450 or so nuclear plants spread around the world. The majority of them are very near water….the ocean…major rivers, inland seas. Let that sink in.

Did you know that the majority of the Earth’s atmosphere is only ten miles thick? Did you know that extreme changes have taken place in that 10 miles of atmosphere which is absolutely essential to the life of every creature on this planet since the “Industrial revolution” back in the 1700’s. Our climate is changing, and quickly, due to the amounts of carbon dioxide which is flowing into our atmosphere. Global warming is caused primarily from putting too much carbon into the atmosphere when coal, gas, and oil are burned to generate electricity or to run our cars. These gases spread around the planet like a blanket, capturing the solar heat that would otherwise be radiated out into space. It’s really just that simple. It’s science. Lot’s of people deny this is happening, but the numbers say it is. The Earth doesn’t like it.

I could go on..and on…and on..but you get the point by now, hopefully.

Last year when we moved to our new home, the area out behind our house was a jungle! There were vines, briers, honeysuckle, scrub bushes, etc., so thick that you couldn’t even get through it. During this winter, I have cut almost all of that jungle out. I have slashed it, and raked it, and cut it and piled it up. There’s no jungle there anymore, and over the past week I have seen rabbits, squirrels, birds and other animals out in that area eating. There are “wild carrots” coming up, with their tender shoots and the rabbits love them. There are earthworms crawling out and the robins love them.

The Earth didn’t mind me doing that little “rearranging” of her surface. The fact that new and wonderful things are already beginning to peep out into the world shows gratitude. The Earth says: “thank you” if you do the right thing.

I wish people would do the right thing. I wish there was no such thing as “fracking” which is quite simply, only a money making scheme for people who are in that industry. Read this comment from a recent post from Senator Bernie Sanders concerning the recent changes in climate policy by our government. It comes from a lady who made a comment on Senator Sander’s post. She’s talking about why they are still fracking: “

I don’t think they actually don’t believe it. I think they don’t care. And a majority of the people in Texas and Louisiana I know that are “deniers” are just afraid that all the oil field guys will lose their jobs if fracking is shut down. It’s not that they don’t believe it’s bad for our environment. My husband was a line boss for Halliburton and he even says it’s horrible. People can’t even imagine the money made from fracking. It’s uncountable. And that’s what matters to most Republicans. Money. I’m not even a Democrat but I do believe that. Whatever will keep all their business money safe is what wins. Screw anyone else and the Earth for our descendants.”

That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it? It’s all about the money for the current passengers on “Spaceship Earth” and screw our descendants. I hate to think about it, but that’s pretty much it.

There is only one Earth, and as far as I know we are all passengers on it…or in it. And when it’s gone, we are gone…all of us, all of our descendants, all of life which exists on this planet. All gone.

Mull it over for a while, and decide if some of the things which we think are absolutely necessary for life, really are.

That’s what you get for thinking.

I honestly thought my “golden years” were going to be filled with good times with my family, taking care of the grand kids, going to ballgames, dances, and school functions with the little grandkids and their parents. I think being around the family and doing things with them was my ultimate goal. It was because of them that I came through four bypasses in 2010. At one point in the first couple of days, the pain was so bad I thought I just wanted to let go. But my wife and my kids….they gave me a reason to go on. I went through a long recovery and only started to really exercise, walk, and watch my weight in late 2004. I wanted to live a few more years. Was that being selfish? I didn’t think so at the time. I was on Ancestry a lot during those years and I saw where a lot of my ancestors died pretty young. Got to be about 60 years old and “BOOM” Gone. It was only through the work of the medical and scientific communities that they actually had a method by the time I needed it to “patch me up” enough to keep on living. I appreciate it so very much. I appreciate what those doctors and nurses did for me. I appreciate my family helping me hold on. I’m thankful to them all.

But…back to the “golden” years. I “thought” that things would go on as they always have. Work most of the year, take a couple of weeks a year off….go on a vacation with the family. Be around the kids, and help with them. Do my “trade day” thing every couple of weeks or so. Go out to eat at Logan’s or one of our other favorite spots on Saturdays. Cracker Barrel on Sunday. All that stuff. Ordinary stuff. To me it was just “every day” life. Taking that “every day” life for granted was a big mistake. Look at where we all are now. Not just us, me and the wife….but all of the Grandma and Grandpa’s out there who love their families and want to be with them, to see them and be around them. To love and sometimes fuss over them. To live our lives “normally”. All of you my friends.

But now, there is no “normal” like that anymore. Only the new normal. The quarantine normal. The self isolation. (and thank God for my wife who keeps me sane) normal. “Thought you were going to glide on through those golden years, huh?” I can hear Tarp Bowers’s voice in my head. “Well that’s what you get for thinking”. And….honestly he’s right.

How did I dare assume that there would be a continued normalcy? What gall on my part. I’ve been warning people about stuff like this for years, and it turns out that I didn’t pay attention to my own warnings. “Mother Earth will get us back, “ I said. I never expected the nasty, evil stealth of this disease that has hit us though. I never expected anything which could separate human beings so totally from their natural tendency to be the social animals we have evolved into. A sickness that has never, ever been inside a human body before in the entire history of all humanity.

Now, I look up at the window and talk to my granddaughters Evie and Ellie…and their Daddy, through a screen 10 ft away. I talk to my youngest son while he’s up on the deck and I’m way down below. I await “drive bys” from my daughter and her family….my oldest son and his family. I haven’t seen my first granddaughter since Christmas? Watched my second granddaughter who’s graduating from college this year get married via phone video. The new normal. Yet, I am lucky. I am so, so very lucky. I can still do these things. I still have hope that our family unit will all get through these hard times all in one piece, so that we may come together….all together again.

It could be much worse. The kind of bad you see on TV every night now.

Daddy used to look at me at times like these and say: “Alright, quit feeling sorry for yourself”. I’m not really. It’s just that this new normal is so abnormal for me. I’m hunkered down now, and resigned to staying put for a long spell. I’m learning new things, and relearning old ones. I’m storing up hugs, tears, and love for the day I’ll be able to use them again. I hope and pray that it will be soon for all of us.

Standing at Second Base

As I stood on second base tonight during Eli’s ball practice I had a strange feeling of unease. I looked around carefully and finally figured out why. I believe its almost the exact spot where the grammar school principals office used to be located. I’ve had my butt whupped in that spot several times. That explains the feeling I had.

I took some photos of the little kids, and in the background was the cotton mill, the railroad trestle, and other familiar old things.

I suppose this is the reason I am still here. Familiarity gives me comfort.

I’ve been to New York City, and San Francisco by the bay. I’ve been to Athens, Greece and lived in Athens, Georgia. Boise, Idaho and Bogalusa Louisiana. I’ve sang songs in Nashville, Tennessee and walked through the Alamo in San Antonio. I have cruised to the Bahamas, and visited Mickey in Orlando. I couldn’t even begin to name all the places I’ve been.

Yet I always come back to this little tiny old town. And I have often asked myself why? Why?

Tonight it was because my Grandson’s ball team needed a little help. Tomorrow Baby Evie will need me. To be needed is good…on most days. To be necessary is even better. And there’s nowhere where it’s better to be necessary than home.

I think most humans feel this way.

A lot of my childhood friends have moved away, but I bet they still have a little space in their hearts for that spot near second base, where Ms. Ethel’s office used to stand. Or just across the road where old THS stood. Wouldn’t you like to have just one of those days back?

Yea, I thought so…

I don’t understand our creator

I don’t understand very much at all about our creator. I do know that we are not here to do some of the awful things we hear about on our TV every day.

I do think we are meant to have love and compassion for other people. I believe we should treat others the way we want to be treated.

I believe if we have more than we need, we should help others who don’t have enough.

I believe we should take good care of our planet, and all of the other living creatures who live here.

When I was in High School I used to sing the song “I Believe”. It was written after the Korean War as a song of encouragement for this nation, and was the first song to become a number one hit to be introduced on our new medium, the television. That was in 1953.

I always loved the ending: “Everytime I hear a new born baby cry, or touch a leaf, or see the sky. Then I know why, I believe”.

I love babies. And the blue skies. And everything our creator has given us to enjoy during our journey here on Earth. It is not in the nature of man to truly understand God, but to just appreciate the nature of God.

No matter what you have chosen to believe as your life’s philosophy, just remember to be kind.

No greater love

I read that in Italy and elderly Catholic priest gave up his ventilator to a younger man willingly, the later died. James 15:13 “ Greater love has no man but this: that he lay down his life for his friend”

I don’t quote the Bible much, but this came immediately to mind when I heard the story.

No greater love. It occurs to me then that Jesus laid down his life for ALL others. No greater love….

Who knows what each of us will be called upon to do in the coming months. We should think of the love being exhibited by those who are serving their fellow man by trying to save their lives. By those who toil to keep food and medicine in stores. By those who obey the health rules so that they don’t become disease spreaders. All of these are acts of love.

And while these people do this out of love and a sense of duty, when the time is right these people should be rewarded by a grateful country. No greater love….

There’s a long way to go, and there will be many who’s norms will be severely tested before this is all over.

Old Memories and People go With them.

There’s a few things I can still remember:

I remember catching my first fish. it was at Lake Wanda Reita.

I remember my first day in school. They had to tear Sandy Hammond away from her Mom, but she was ok from then on.

I remember every person who lived in every house in my neighborhood in 1958. Jake Woods family lived next door, then the Ardens, and across from them lived Van Buren Rice. Across the street was Frank Watts and family. Up on West Pine was Paul Rosser, Flossie Mae, Dale, Annette, and their older sister…Paulette? was it…

And on the next street was my Uncle Curly, The Floyd family…Sloppy and Doris, Nancy Jim, Susan and Jimmy. The Barfield family, Jan and her sisters. Across from them, the Haygoods, with their boys…Mark was my age, then Randy, I think. Mrs. Rush and Marilyn. The Collettes, Joe and Ruth, Johnny and Jimmy and Marsha. Up on the hill to the North, The Caheelys, The Sprayberries, The Hawkins…with John and Jim. Just around the corner was Dennis and Don Durham and their folks…then the Langston family. I could go on and on. I know I left some out too. The Styles a little further down, and the Webb twins.

I reminisce as I walk that area. Then I walk West Hill, and a lot of those people are now there. Not more than a block from where they lived. Time goes by quickly.

Anybody who grew up in a little bittie town knows how I feel walking these streets. It’s past and present all rolled up a ball, and for people like me nostalgia just sometimes overcomes me, and stops me in my tracks. I’m 65, but I’m 6 sometimes too. But there is also still a future to live.

By the time I get back home, I’ve gotten it all pretty much out of my system. I’m back in the present and ready to press on. And I know why I stayed here. For the memories. To give my kids a chance at the same, not too bad small town raising. Its getting a lot different now, but I can’t complain too much. (although Paula might tell you different) Its still home, and that’s where the heart lies.