Random Crazy thoughts from today.

We’ve only just begun. That was a “Carpenters” song, it seems like an eternity ago now. “We’ve only just begun to live, white lace and promises, a gift for luck and we’re on our way” I suppose it’s been sung at about a million weddings. The title of the song keeps popping in my head now almost every day since we’ve all started “distancing” from each other. We’ve only just begun. We’ve only just begun to live the “new” way that we’re going to have to live for quite some time now. Who knows how long? Nobody.

There are a lot guessers out there. A lot of assumers, and a lot of optimists. I’ve never been much of an optimist. That’s just the way I was built. I’ve tried to happy my way out of it a lot of times. I haven’t yet been able to do it. I’m slightly to the bi-polar side I suppose. I have good days and bad days. I had them even when we weren’t going through a pandemic. Now those swings are a lot more extreme. Amplified and modulated. I read an article which said we’re only in the 2nd inning of this fight with the novel coronavirus. If we’re just in the 2nd inning, it’s going to be a long, long game. A deadly game. A game in which a lot of people are going to “leave the stadium” before it’s over. The people who are there at the end of the game, are going to be changed by the game. Forever.

I don’t know if I’ll make it until the end of the game. I’m a pretty old spectator, who was pretty set in his ways even before the game started. At just over a month into this, I’m already pretty antsy some days. Other days I’m ok…. I’m lucky to have a wonderful companion who’s sharing this game with me, and she’s more of an optimist then I am. She keeps me pretty sane most days.

I know for certain and for sure I’m not the only one who’s already going a little stir crazy. But, I’m so very thankful to be here where I am now. I am so very thankful to still have my health. I’m going to continue to fight, both the external and the internal battle with this terrible disease which has already taken over 50 thousand people in our country.

I’m going to stay put, except to get food and medication. I’m for sure not going out into a barber shop, or a gym, or inside a Walmart store. I can’t stop other people from doing it. It’s their decision to do what they are going to do. I surely can’t understand opening lot’s of the country back up while the disease is still spreading.

There’s still lots of time to go. Lot’s of time to think, or perhaps not to think about this crisis in human history. I guess each generator sees it’s own emergencies. Not every generation sees an existential threat to it’s existence. (or two of them if you count the climate crisis which is going on at the same time) I guess we can only do what we can with the time that we have to do it with.

Everyone stay safe, try and stay sane, and stay healthy. Everyone has my deepest love and hope for all of us….for the entire human race. Let’s try to make it to the end of this deadly game the best way we all can.

The Right Choice

A busy day, the end of a busy week. We have been with all the “little” Grandbabies at different times this week. They are tiny tornadoes…but they are our babies. Eli, Rue, and Evie. I couldn’t love them more.

They remind me that once upon a time, my other grandchildren were also babies, but are growing up and out of our “sphere of influence” My first Jessica Brown is a beautiful young woman now, in faraway Huntsville most of the time, working hard on her new job. Auttie Bowers my Blondie, is a junior. Going to the prom tomorrow (praying for no storms) Tyler Holland is married and working hard on the road. I passed my 16 year old Chelsea Holland out playing tennis this afternoon with Max, and had to stop my walk and try to show off. Then there is my little teeny bopper Olivia Livy Brown who is getting prettier every day. I know I’m an embarrassment to them, but just can’t help it.

I raised my three children the best I could. There were hard times, financially and emotionally. I commuted to work out of town all my working years, and had less time for my kids than I wanted with them. I bet I have put in at least a million miles between 1978 and 2011…my “driving” years. I got to know Ludlow Porch, NPR, and Neal Boortz really well over the radio airwaves. I listened to more country music than a Nashville producer.

My wife was with the kids more when they were little. I know that her presence helped them tremendously. Their Grandparents were a big part of their life, especially my “larger than life” Daddy.

My kids are my friends now, although I am never beyond still giving “parental” advice and serving as a gravel hauler, furniture mover, fashion supplier, taxi service and much more…all very willingly albeit grumpily sometimes. There is nothing I wouldn’t do…well almost nothing, for them. They know it. My family has always come first.

Brings me back to the babies. The grandchildren of our “old” age. They will never remember Paula and I as anything other than the gray headed grandparents. Evie especially, and hopefully a brother or sister for her in a few years. Perhaps they will remember some wisps and whispers of our caring for them. And oh..how I do care for them….all of them, child and grandchild.

Many, many years ago I decided I would probably never have a profession as such, other than being Dad and Papa. I think it was the right choice.

Old Memories

Lately, “for no particular reason” as Forrest Gump would say, I have been uncharacteristically sad. I wish I knew why.

Things have been going ok, have been going relatively well actually.

I was cleaning out some things at my rented storage building today and found an old photo album which had been misplaced. It had photos of my grandparents and my folks, my Aunts and Uncles…many long dead now. One of the pictures was of Mom and Dad, and Uncle Pinky and Aunt Sis sitting at a card table playing Rook….had to be about 1974.

They used to get together quite often when we lived on 8th street, since they lived right next door. We boys and girls who lived on 8th street also would get together almost every day and play. God, there were a bunch of us there in the 60’s.

Lemme see: Me and Mike. Rickey Bowers, Mike and Lynn Brown, David Hayes and his three sisters, Debo Spears, Barbecue Ingle, Stanley Crawford, Russell Fox, Hiram Sizemore, Alan Butler (sometimes at his grandparents) the Butler girls…three of them, sisters. There was Kenneth Treadaway, (Coway drive…as was Debo) and sometimes Ken Stephens would wander over from 7th street. Did I forget anybody? Probably.

It was precisely this time of the year, every year, that we were getting geared up for summer. Baseball and swimming. Fishing, golf, and nightly games of “freedom”. Around the clock monopoly marathons at Hiram’s house. Guitar playing. Spending the night at somewhere else besides home.

Waiting for the the rolling store and the ice cream truck. Reading comic books all day long. Our lives back then was a combination of “Leave it to Beaver” and “The Wonder Years”.

We, the white middle class kids of America growing up in the fifties and sixties, had mostly wonderful lives. Sure, there were problems. But we tend to forget those. We tend to dwell on the good for the most part. It’s just how humans think. Why else would a woman ever have more than one child?

So I suppose my recent wave of sadness is simply nostalgia biting me in the butt. It’s missing the people who are gone, and the times we had.

But…I’m still looking forward to tomorrow…and this week. My little grandchildren, my big ones, my kids. All of my family. We make new memories now for a new generation of our humanity to one day be nostalgic about. It’s the way of life.

And that’s how it should be, although it’d be good to play a game of Rook…or even “Magic” again…while there’s still some time.

Days (of our lives)


Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is to be thankful for one more day. Then, most of the time during the day I find myself being thankful for simple moments. They are the type of moments that each of us should have, and should treasure.

The kissing of the baby’s neck. The hug from the little kids. The taste of something decent to eat, the smell of coffee, the song which touches your heart, and brings a tear to your eye. The glance from a familiar eye which says “I love you”.

Those are real moments, and when it all is considered, those moments are all we have. The past is gone, with every breath we take, it is fleeing swiftly by us. The future is simply conjecture. We plan on doing things which will happen “in the future” but it’s not certain.

A lot of times during the day, especially now, at my age, I find myself questioning life. Uncertain life, and if I travel outside my little venue, either physically or via this computer or any other electronic means, I become aware of things which I cannot understand.

I can’t understand the hate which has resurfaced in our country. I cannot remember a time in my life, except for perhaps in the 50’s or early 60’s when hatred was so wide spread and naked for all to see. I never thought to ever see a time when a swastika was burned openly in order for people of one race to intimidate people of other races or creeds. There is no love in that act, only hatred. There is nothing to be gained by that act, only loss. There are only lost moments in doing something of that nature. There are only lost chances at being able to live together in harmony at those moments. There is nothing Godly happening there. There is nothing divine happening there. There is absolutely no love being exhibited there. There is no sense in it. There is not use in it. There is nothing to be gained by it, other than one moment of the searing satisfaction that an orgasm of hatred can bring. It is ugly, and is the antithesis of everything that anyone who claims a religion of any kind can muster.

We human beings have so very little time on this planet, and hatred is a total waste of that time.

When and if I wake up in the morning, I will again be thankful for the day…..for the moments which fill that day. I’m going to continue to love. I do not, and cannot believe however, that by staying silent anymore about the bad things which are going on, I am doing what is right. I will fight hate, although I will do it in my own way, and I hope and pray that everyone else who hopes for a better world for our children and our grandchildren will do the same. Forcefully, but peacefully… perhaps we can prevail and a better world will be the result.

Common Sense and Ghost Peppers

Common Sense: Not looking both ways before crossing the road. Not touching a stove eye which is red. Don’t sign anything without reading it first. Don’t eat undercooked pork, or a raw ghost pepper.

Don’t encourage ignorance. Don’t put up with rudeness. Don’t forget to say please, thank you, and excuse me. Don’t be bigoted.

Don’t be sexist. Don’t forget to brush your teeth before you go to the dentist. Don’t forget to vote. Always wear clean underwear. Don’t shoot a motorcycle gang a bird.

Don’t forget to learn as much as you can about everything you can. Don’t argue unless you know you are right. Don’t be stubborn about changing your mind when you’re wrong. Don’t contradict yourself.

Always fasten your seatbelt. Don’t fly unless it’s in a plane. Don’t criticize anyone’s personal beliefs.

Thomas Paine once wrote a book by the same name. Read it, it’s an important part of history. Benjamin Franklin wrote a bunch of good common sense sayings in Poor Richard’s Almanac. Another important book.

Apple Cider vinegar and local honey are good for what ails you. Wear an orange vest in the woods during deer season.

Love your neighbor, and that doesn’t just apply to the people you live near. Have compassion and pity for those with less than you. Try to understand where even the angry people are coming from.

Hug somebody. Get enough sleep……

Life Needs Balance

Life is like a balance scale. You must balance out the things you want with the things you really need. You may never have all you think you need, but then…did you truly need it after all?

As a child and a young man I would often dream of what I could become. What I have become is much different. I would not have imagined this. Nobody dreams of growing up to become “ordinary”. But ordinary is not bad, it is simply what has been weighed out in the balance, through choice and through chance.

After all, free will is what has been given to we humans as our heritage from the trials and errors of our ancestors, and through natural selection, or from God if you will.

We should not fail to exercise it, but we should realize at the same time the moral limitations it puts upon us. We should weigh in the balance that which makes us happy and productive against the idealism of that which we think would make us more satisfied.

Sometimes they are one and the same, but most of the time they are not, and those are the times which cause us to get out of balance, and to hurt ourselves and others whom we love.

As one of my favorite fantasy writers Brandon Sanderson said in his book The Hero of Ages:

“Somehow, we’ll find it. The balance between whom we wish to be and whom we need to be. But for now, we simply have to be satisfied with who we are.”

Appreciation to Dad and Mom

It’s plain to me that we humans cannot understand the point of view of other human beings until we “walk a mile in their shoes” I think it holds true for almost everything. A person doesn’t understand Japanese cuisine until they eat it for the first time, no matter how much it’s described to you. Especially those big old flames that shoot up from those Hibachi grills!

It especially holds true for a person’s point of view as they accumulate years.

My Mom was 20 years older than me, my Daddy was 22 years older. Barely a generation. They were youngsters when they had me, just as Paula and I were youngsters when we married and had children.

I remember looking at them as a little child, and they were my whole world. Everything that came to me, came through them. My food, my clothes, my toys. Everything. They seemed to me as a four year old, which is as far back as I can remember, as almost super human. As I grew older, of course that point of view changed.

As an older child they seemed less super human, and more authoritarian. Always telling me what to do, and when to do it! How irritating that sometimes seemed to me. I didn’t care if it was a school day, and my bedtime, I didn’t think it was necessary to put that comic book down, and go to bed. But, there were consequences if I didn’t obey, so I put down the “Spiderman” comic book and jumped under the covers.

As a teenager, I thought I knew it all. I can’t remember when I learned it all, but I thought I knew it. I didn’t think Mom and Dad were right about anything. I didn’t think they knew much about life. Heck, who were they to tell me I couldn’t stay out past midnight? Who indeed?

As a young adult with children of my own, it seemed to me that Mom and Dad got a little smarter again, somehow. The advice they gave me about the kids was pretty accurate, especially the parts about how to handle them when they were misbehaving! And then, as my children grew into teenagers, and into adulthood and had children of their own, I looked back with new eyes at my parents. I looked back with more respect at how well they had handled my upbringing and that of my brother. I looked back with admiration at the help they had lent me, and the love that they had unselfishly given me…for free.

Now, as I sit here and watch the wind blow through the trees, and the rain start to fall in sheets from the sky, I am just now beginning to understand their viewpoint as “older” adults, as “senior” citizens. I don’t feel any differently then I ever have really, but I think that’s because time creeps up on us so incrementally that we don’t notice the changes that it causes until we walk by a mirror, or start to get up from flat on the floor after helping your little three year old granddaughter build a “block tower” Then you notice.

I just have to whisper a thanks into the air sometimes at night to those folks….thanks Dad and Mom. I appreciate it.

Let People Know you Love Them- Today.

I think tomorrow might be a good day to rest. Sunday is a traditional day for rest. I might even sleep in til 7 am if the storms don’t come rolling forth.

I remember my Grandmother Stewart was not a sleeper. If she slept five hours it was something. Many times when I stayed there Grandpa would still be snoring (I think he had sleep apnea) while Grandma was already up stirring around. Grandma made him wake up and start a fire during the winter though, and as soon as I would hear him clanking that old wood stove I would extricate myself from under the five quilts I was entangled in upstairs and come running down to the heater.

Grandma lived to be 100, so I guess she was the exception to the rule about needing plenty of sleep to live a long life. She never napped much either.

Grandma died in December 1999. I was supposed to be a pallbearer, but I’d had a heart attack and a stent just a month before she died so I couldn’t help carry her as I had done with Grandpa in 1993. They played such a large part in my childhood, but as I became an adult and had my own family my visits were infrequent. I think we all run into that pattern of life as we live it.

You regret the time you might have been able to spend with your family, much more when they are gone. I apologized to Grandma once for this, and she simply said “Don’t worry about it honey, I understand”

As I approach 65 I am beginning to also understand. We have what we have when we have it. Live it that day, that week, that month. There is time enough to love if we take it, because it does not take much time to show it in the present. A hug, a kiss, a word, a touch. An unexpected tenderness or an emotion expressed. It’s better done now than wishing it done later. Believe me, I know.

At the least a long peaceful sleep

I’m afraid from where I sit, I really don’t know much about the Universe. I’ll freely admit it.

The Universe is big beyond my imagination. It boggles my mind to even try and contemplate it. I watched one of those fantasy mock ups which takes you from our planet out into the Universe. Everything keeps getting bigger and bigger, while Earth gets tinier and tinier. There’s a star out there, they say, which will hold a billion of our suns. A billion! Damn…that just blows my tiny fist size compilation of gray matter.

It’s hard for me to believe that human beings have books that we wrote which tell us all about how the universe came into being and why. How the Universe was created. Religions say these books are divinely inspired. Maybe so. I won’t step on anybody’s beliefs, I promise you that. I’m for people believe whatever they want to believe and me believing what I believe and let bygones be bygones, and live and let live. I’m very tolerant about most things. I can’t stand loud boom boxes, and could do without constantly barking dogs, but even with those I’ll let most the instances flow by like a river as long as they are not too extreme. I despise human actions which result in harm to other human beings.

Science has come a long way over the centuries and we have what I believe are some relatively (no pun intended) simple theories about what makes the Universe tick. We think they are pretty deep and informative, but I’m not really so sure about that. What we think we know might not even be close to right. We may be way wrong. Humans are smart in a human way, but perhaps in a Universal way we are still just babies.

There’s umpteen theories about what happens to us humans after we die. We place a huge amount of emphasis on those theories. I think I’ve read about most of them. I’ve read about some of them extensively.

I lay there at night sometimes and I think, and I puzzle and I worry and sometimes I pray and sometimes I don’t. I try my best every day to do what my conscious tells me is right, especially over the past 5 years or so. I try to take care of my grandchildren in a kind way, and I love them and my children and all of my family. That’s about the best I can do.

So…I’ll take what I get when my time comes.

I expect at the very least to have a long peaceful sleep.

Washing the Car- from 2016

Washing the Car

I had a dream last night. In my dream, me and my brother Mike, Ted, Matt and Stacy were all over at the old house on seventh street. It was a beautiful day like today, and we all had our cars lined up on the curb of the road in front of the house. Dad had his bucket and his car washing “mitt” ready and we were all going to wash our cars!

Now, there’s really a lot of truth in that dream.

One of the Sunday afternoon rituals for many, many years was to wash our cars on nice sunny days.

We used to go over to Mom and Dad’s house on most Sundays for lunch. That was a ritual which began farther back than I can remember. We started that tradition when they lived on 8th street, back when our kids were very young. Mom and Dad moved to South Carolina for about five years and then moved back down to Georgia in the late nineties. After they move back we resumed our regular Sunday visits.

Mom would cook dinner most of the time, occasionally we would order some food, especially when Mom and Dad began to get older. Some days it was hectic, especially after mine and my brother’s children grew up and got married! But it was our get together time, our family time, our sharing time. Looking back from where I am now, it’s time that can never be replaced. Time which was as precious as gold. Only we didn’t know it then.

My Dad’s house was situated right next to the road, and his outside water spigot was near the front of his house. He always kept the right supplies right there on the edge of the front porch. A coiled up hose pipe, a bucket, a fuzzy mitt and a bunch of car washing liquid.
As I mentioned earlier, my brother and I would park our cars out front when our kids were little. If it was a sunny day, we’d break out the hose pipe and have a go at the cars. I was always the more reluctant of the two of us to wash the car, so I usually went last. After I was through, my Dad always did an examination of the car.

“You missed a spot here” he would say

I usually had, because I was in a big hurry to get it done. I’m not a big fan of hand washing a car. Car washes are more my thing. But I did it for Dad.

As my kid’s, and my brother’s children grew up we continued the “car washing” tradition. All the boys have at one time or another…and most many times, lined their cars up in front of that house and washed the road dirt off of them. Most of the time, we’d hook up Mom’s old vacuum cleaner with a drop cord and vacuum out the dirt too. We had clean cars.

I hadn’t hand washed a car since my since my Dad died in May of 2010. As I said, I’m more of a “car wash” kind of guy.

But in the dream I had last night, my Dad was chewing my butt out for letting my car get so dirty. I was first in line, since I’m the oldest, and I couldn’t get that damn car washed to my Dad’s satisfaction. “You missed a spot” he repeated again and again. And I had! Mike and Ted and everyone else behind me were getting mad. “Can’t you get that thing clean” I heard somebody say “We ain’t got all day”

I woke up with that last phrase echoing in my head.

So after I got back from eating breakfast with my brother and sister in law this morning, I got my bucket, my towels and my soap, and pulled my car into my driveway between my house and my neighbor’s house. I got my little step ladder so I could get the top good. I washed it one time, but I wasn’t happy. I had missed a spot. I washed it again, and then one more time after I had let the warming sun dry it out good enough to see the teeny tiny spots I had missed the second time. At one point, I thought I could actually hear a voice coming from my car saying “Oh baby…rub it right there”

Well…it WAS a dirty little car, after all.

Then I took the full size towel I had brought out and wiped that car down from top to bottom. I looked it over once, twice, three times. There were no spots. Not even on the windows, because I had done them inside and out.

I turned around to look, but my Dad wasn’t there to inspect my work.

At least not in person. I could hear him inside my head though: “good job son, I knew you could do it” Finally!

On days like this beautiful day, I sometimes wish I had continued to live in that old house over on seventh street.

Or maybe instead I wish this house I live in, in which I have lived in since 1987, had a water spigot situated more conveniently for car washing.

But that was then and this is now, and the one thing you have to know about life is that it changes, and keeps on changing.