The Double Edged Sword of the Holiday Season from 2015

The holiday season is a double edged sword. Oh how I love these days between now and the new year. These are times of the gatherings of family. These are the times of great meals and food…familiar dishes and recipes send wonderful, memory jogging smells through the air.

They pick me up and take me back once more, to the place in time where old memories are stored.

I’m at Grandma and Grandpa’s old clapboard house, and Granny has the table ready. Most of the Aunts, Uncles and cousins are already there, but there’s always a late comer or two. It might be Uncle Jack, and Aunt Kay and their boys this year….but everyone finally makes it there. We all gather round that big old wooden table…so many of us. All scattered now, and so many gone, but the memory lives.

Then I think of the days when my family was young. I had never heard of stuffing a turkey before Paula and I got married, but oh how delicious that stuffing was…and is still. I like a pan of cornbread dressing too, but I can’t wait for that delicious stuffing…my dear mother in laws recipe….I cannot believe she has been gone so many years now. It doesn’t seem possible…

I think of the times with Mom and Dad, not particularly the days when Mike and I were kids, but their very last Thanksgiving meal with us, over there in their own house on 7th street in 2009. We had moved into their house and they were in Assisted living. We went up and brought them down for the meal. Momma kept asking where their stuff was. She couldn’t understand that things had not been left the same as when they had moved out. She was always planning on coming back! Daddy just ate like he was starving, and asking for more sweet tea. Then 2010 came and we lost them.

And so there is the bittersweet of this time of year. Time passes by and people pass on, as the old Kathy Mattea song says.

So as my wife and I walk through this 65th year’s holiday season I will rejoice in all that we share together, my wonderful family and good friends! Let’s eat some turkey, and open some presents and pass the love around and back again. Let’s make some great memories together. After all that is what makes us who we are.

Over the Rainbow

“Someday I’ll wish upon a star, and wake up where the clouds are far behind me”. Yip Harburg

Judy Garland sang “Over the Rainbow” in the movie “Wizard of Oz”. She was the first person I ever saw sing the song on TV. I was probably nine years old. That would have made it 1959. I believe it was broadcast every year, once a year for many years after that.

I’d heard my Dad sing the song….probably had heard it on the radio before 1959, but I wasn’t prepared for the movie, or for Judy Garland’s version. I fell in love with the movie, and the song on that Fall night in 1959, and I’ve never stopped loving it. But it’s that one line I quoted above that is my favorite.

I’ve wished upon a star many times, for many things. I can’t remember ever getting anything I wished for. All my wishes were the pie in the sky, far flung dreams of a kid.

I should have wished for a great family when I grew up. I’d have gotten that. I should have wished to grow up in the greatest era in American history. I’d have gotten that also.

This year when I watch Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life” I’ll have to agree with him that the most important things in life are the things we often take for granted. It’s not the one great and wonderful, momentous day that counts, but the thousands of “ordinary” days that really truly count. All of those days with their wonderful and sometimes bittersweet script. Laughter and tears. Joy and sorrows. Napping with the babies in your arms, all the school activities,the birthday parties, the holiday celebrations…and yet also the days you just sat around and read a book, or watched movies all day. Life, and living life. It differs a little from person to person, but it’s mostly always the same formula.

All so that when that day comes when we get our fondest wish, and wake up where the clouds are far, far behind us, we won’t have any regrets that we didn’t live life to the “fullest”. As long as we’ve lived it to the best of our abilities, with mostly love and kindest, then we surely won’t have any regrets.

Being Thankful in Chaotic Times.

Do you think we have things to be thankful for during our current times? The Pandemic is decimating our country. Political divisions have made enemies of lifelong friends, and have torn families asunder. The affects on all of us are real, and have left many of us anxiety filled, angry, misunderstood, and searching for answers. My answer for myself tonight, at this time, and in this place, is to search my heart to see what is still there. Am I capable of love, compassion, forgiveness and contrition? I have been thankful….I am still.

I’m very thankful for my family…my wife, children, grandchildren. My Mom and Dad, my brother. (And all of my other loved ones who are connected to the ones I have just named. I could name them all, but they know who they are! ) I believe my one major goal in life, starting way back when I was a teenager, was to have a family and to do the very best I could to be a good Father. I could have chosen baseball, or golf, or music, or a career of some other sort to be my main life goal…but I had a different scenario in mind. I am thankful for being able to experience so many fulfilling things through my wonderful, supportive family.

I give thanks, or course, for all of the other things most everyone else does. Life and a chance to live it. Thankful for modern medicine, it saved my life. Hopeful that this same scientific community can save us from our current critical medical crisis. Thankful for the advances in technology, which allows me to communicate with you! Thankful for so, so many little things: running water, books, refrigeration, friends, classmates, prescriptions, underwear, automobiles, you name it, and I’m probably thankful for it.

I am thankful for music and the influence it has had on my life. I haven’t been a “commercial” success like I thought I wanted to be, but I have enjoyed the love of music just for the sake of its beauty and the satisfaction it gives me to “make” it and to listen to it. Thankful for guitars too!

I am thankful for growing up in the small town of Trion, Georgia. I am so thankful that I went to school with the people who were my classmates. That small group are like brothers and sisters to me. All of us went through so many things together. Butt whooping’s, schoolyard fights, proms, dances, football season, band, term papers, tests, Ms. Roberts, Mr. West, playing basketball in the old gym, eating at the “Y”, having plays in the old theatre, fishing in the river, sneaking out of class, loving each other, and hating each other (sometimes, but not for long) Although we have diverged in many cases on our personal philosophies, I hope that we can still love each other.

Living in a small town meant being able to walk from one side of it to the other without having to take food and water to survive. It meant spending the night at your best friend’s house so much that their parents threatened to claim you on their tax returns. It meant playing “pick up” baseball every day during the summer, and “choose up” football every day during the winter. It meant watching the river flood our beloved school to the point of uselessness. It meant the Skating rink, and the one theatre in the Country were all the places you had to go for “proper” entertainment. It meant knowing which guys had the most “bad ass” cars in town. I’m thankful I got to play baseball and then golf. I had two or three of the best coaches a boy could have in Dugan Peace, Jesse Emory, and J.W. Greenwood. J.W. taught me that it’s better to be lucky than good any day. Ha! It was good, and I am thankful for all of it.

I am thankful I got to go to college for five years, and although I didn’t finish, the knowledge I received has served me well. I went to both West Georgia College and the University of Georgia. I am thankful I met my future wife there, and very thankful she decided she wanted to spend time with me. (And still is, up to 51 years now!) I am not proud that I didn’t graduate. It’s been a thorn which I and nobody else, put in my side and has stayed there for almost 46 years now. But, I am thankful it still pricks me at times when I start something and I am tempted not to finish it. It has helped me finish a lot of things I would have not have, otherwise. It helped me to encourage all of my children to finish…which they all did pretty much on their own without much help from me at all!

I’m thankful I took Typing II in High School instead of Shop. I made a lot of money typing College papers for other people, and learned about as much from that as I did from my classes. It also helped tremendously my ability to edit for incorrect grammar and spelling. Makes it easy to write these epistles on Facebook too!

I am also thankful for some of the things which I have experienced in life, for which others may think to be a little odd. I experienced the death of my first child, and though it was heart wrenching, I am thankful for her, and the fact that she lived and she was ours…mine and Paula’s. She paved the way for our other children and a deeper appreciation of them for me, than I might have otherwise had. I looked at them many times and thought of her and was extremely thankful that I had three other chances to be a Father. (For as I have previously said…I think it’s my purpose in life) Her death prepared me at a very young age for the realities of life, that bad things happen and you must overcome them lest they overcome you. I am thankful that even after 50 years I can still sit here and have tears fill my eyes when I think of her. It proves to me I’m still human.

I am thankful I had some hard, manual labor jobs at the beginning of my working career. They made me determined to look for better ways to make a living. They (along with my wife) shook me out of a rut I was in and might have stayed in, and gave me impetus to go on to better things. I am thankful that I eventually found some very good people for whom I enjoyed working. I am thankful for the people I worked with, both good and bad. The good ones confirmed my philosophy that there ARE more good people than bad in this world, and the bad ones helped build my character to withstand and persevere against things which are wrong, and to have some ethics in life. I am thankful for the very hard and nerve wracking battles I had against unethical peers, who only cared for themselves and not others…who only cared for the numbers and the money, and not the people, and that most of the time I won…though not always, and sometimes at a heavy personal and financial cost. Those battles steeled me, and cemented my philosophy for the rest of my life, that it is better to want to help people, be tolerant and acceptant of those who are different than me, to have an open mind towards ideas which were different than mine.

I am thankful that I have had enough financial resources to live life at a “good” level, though never at a “super-secure” level. (I am not anywhere near rich…and never will be) It has taught me that envy is never a good quality. It has taught me that some of the things I coveted turned out to be unnecessary, and that the wealthiest people are not always the happiest. It has taught me that I should have paid better attention in “Economics 101” at West Georgia. It has taught me to be innovative in order to survive, and to try and help others who have even less. (And there are many, many of those out there, believe me…I feel blessed for what I have in comparison to a lot of people in this country and in this world, especially in our current turmoil)

Finally, I will end up by saying I am thankful that our Creator (and I do believe in one, although not in the same way as most of you) has allowed me to enjoy all these things and allows me to continue to be here and enjoy them. My fervent wish and hope is that we all come through our current national turmoil and medical emergency with the attitude that we must…we must start communicating on a personal level again. Enough with the outlandish conspiracy theories. Enough with the unwarranted hatred of each other, which we are being baited by from politicians, pundits and false prophets! Enough. It’s time to once again be thankful for our lives and for one another and time to force the demagogues and dividers out for good. Start with an open mind, follow up with logic, and believe that it can be done. Be thankful we still have a chance….albeit a slim one, to save our world.

The Train and the Dream

I used to lay in bed when we lived on eighth street in Trion and listen for the freight trains to roll into the rail yard at the mill. We lived just up that steep hill from Riegel textile. Back then, I had a rocket arm and I could stand in my front yard and throw a rock almost to that railroad track.

I listened for the train because the movement of it as it came in and out with loads of cotton and coal, was comforting. Strange isn’t it, what we become used to? I could tell when the cars were being coupled and uncoupled, and whether the engineer was new or experienced by how loud the “clang” was when the cars hit together or pulled apart. A lot of times I would fall asleep dreaming of riding one of those trains out of town and right across America.

I dreamed of the things I would do: cross the Mississippi River, or maybe jump off at Memphis and get a job on a boat heading towards New Orleans. I’d take my guitar with me, and make some money singing in clubs. But then, maybe I’d ride those trains all the way to California, and go into acting….become a star. I loved music so maybe I should go to New York City and try out for Broadway. I knew all the old Broadway songs because I was able to afford those types of .33 rpm records at Redford’s five and dime. They were the cheapest ones. The new popular records were usually 3.99, while “My Fair Lady” and “Broadways Greatest Hits” were .99 cents. More music for the money, and besides, I could hear the hit songs on the radio.

I dreamed and schemed the world of a twelve year old boy, laying in my bed underneath that wide rollout window. The one I could crane my head back, and look up out of at the night sky and get a glimpse of the moon, and some stars, and the occasional plane flying overhead.

Those years on eighth street went by quickly. Looking back now, way too fast. From age twelve to seventeen I lay there and listened and dreamed.

I am reminded many mornings lately of those days because as I walk around the neighborhood in the early morning, the sound of the CSX going down the tracks parallel to highway 41, drifts up from downtown Ringgold. I can easily discern it off in the distance, and having walked the paths right next to where it runs, and having taken pictures of it, I know it’s the same type of train that I remember from my childhood.

My hope is, that somewhere downtown close to the tracks, there’s a twelve year old boy laying in his bed and listening as the train passes by, and dreaming of where it could take him. He may not get there. He may follow a totally different path from what he dreams, and be as happy as I am with where he ends up. But the dreaming will do him good, and give him some happy memories. And sometimes memories are worth more than gold.

Why I walk

I walked this evening in the rain, hooded sweatshirt draped loosely over me. My wife told me it was raining before I left and I asked “don’t you remember last winter?”

I walked in the rain and I walked in the snow. This past summer I walked in the blistering heat and sweltering humidity. The only time I refuse to walk is during a lightning storm.

I walk to exercise, but I also walk to think. I think of the past and the special times I have had with loved ones who are gone. I think of friends who are still alive and well when I walk past spots where our lives have intersected. I am thankful for all of them. They have shaped me. For good or bad? Who knows? Who judges?

I walk in places where my children and grandchildren exist and live their lives. Down by the river, and up the steep hill. I see their past and their present. They must see to much of their future.

I walk in the cemetery not because it is quiet and there is no traffic, but in order to pay my respects to people I have known. Our paths have crossed and I honor them. There are always new people there. There have been three or four this week.

You see, a walk is not just a walk to me. It’s a different experience each day. It’s a different choice of memories every day. It is cathartic.

As long as I can physically put one foot in front of the other I will continue my trips. I expect if you ride around town much you will see me. Smile and wave if you can.

Our Universe is Inside our Head?

Reverie

When I was a little kid, I found that I didn’t always have to have another person to play with in order to have fun. I guess you might say, I had a vivid imagination. I created my own worlds to play in, and stayed in them for hours and hours sometimes. Many times when I stayed at my Grandparent’s home I would go up behind their house into the hills alone, and stay there most of the day. I would hunt for arrowheads and many times would find one or two. I made myself bow and arrow and shot them at invisible enemies. I dug into the red clay dirt and made a cave in which me and my gang of outlaws hid. I climbed trees….not too high because I was afraid of heights, but high enough. I took sticks and limbs which had fallen from the great high oaks and hickories, and built little cabins. I cracked those hickory nuts, and ate persimmons and liked them. I lived many lives there. Only the way my Grandmother’s voice carried in the thin mountain air would draw me back into the reality of the world of others.

At home I also had my sanctuaries. The old river dam at Trion was a second home. I fished there with a cane pole pulling out many a tiny bream that my Dad would look at and judge and then say “throw ‘em back…too small”

I went on my own many times to the jagged limestone rocks which jutted out into the river at many places and jumped from one to another, sometimes making it, sometimes not. I swam at the “boat dock” sometimes alone, sometimes with friends like my ol’ buddy “Barbeque” who lived on the same street as me. Countless times before I ever played organized baseball, I would play the entire World Series in my back yard. Throwing the baseball up against the rugged red bricks on the backside of our house, sometimes clipping the siding…much to my Mom’s dismay but drawing very little ire from my Dad, who seemed to understand where I was coming from. Playing with my dogs, especially my old buddy Lobo..who was a mix of just about every kind of dog a man could think of, and about as tough a fighter and survivor who ever lived. He was near death so many times, and brought back to life with Peroxide and love, you would think he had a cat’s nine lives. He taught me a lot about the will to live, and how strong it is inside every living thing.

I also developed a knack of “inside the house” entertainment. I would sit around and read comic books by the hour. Uncle Scrooge comics at first, and then graduating to Superman and Batman, and finally becoming excited about the “new” Marvel comic books which were coming out. Spiderman, and The Fantastic Four, Dr. Strange, The Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man. I bought them all, just as soon as they came out and then followed them religiously. They were cheap, and it was what I spent my allowance on. If my Mom hadn’t thrown them all away when I went off to college, I might be rich today. I also loved books, and constantly had my nose stuck in one. If I was inside, I was reading. Listening to music and reading. I loved the big 33’s and bought the ones which were cheapest at the store. That means I listened to a lot of Broadway, since they were usually 99 cents versus 3.99 or more for the “Rock and roll” records. I can still sing most of the songs word for word. “Some enchanted evening…you may meet a stranger…” or “I could have danced all night, I could have danced all night and then have begged for more…I could have spread my wings…and done a thousand things, I’ve never done before” Yep…My Fair Lady, The King and I, Oklahoma, Camelot…and on…and on…I was a weird child.

I’ve done so much as a child, before my adult life started, even though much of it was on my on…inside my head, that I don’t feel like I was “cheated” during my childhood. I don’t feel deprived. I feel…normal. My adult life has been equally fulfilling. A lot of you have seen the pictures of my family. I love them as much as I appear to…believe me. Hoping to one day be able to hug and kiss them, after this pandemic is over, is one of the things that keeps me going.

Now, I don’t know how other people feel…don’t know how they experience things. None of us do. We live our entire lives side by side with other human beings, but we have no earthly idea exactly what’s going on inside their head. We assume they process and navigate information the same way we do. That can’t be so, otherwise we would have a world full of people who are essentially alike. One can see during this weird year of 2020 how different the brains are inside of our heads.

However, I think one of the things which has brought the human race to where we are today, has been our differences instead of our similarities. We need to celebrate that fact, but also we need to try and curb the extremist tendencies that live inside of us all.

We ALL are a universe inside the frail body of a human being, and even after that body fails us, I believe that particular unique spiritual Universe which is “us” will go on. I believe that together we will separately go on. How that happens I have not nearly enough knowledge to say, but I think it will.

About Books

While there are still libraries which are open to the public, and book stores where you can go to buy real physical books….while there are still vintage books at yard sales and flea markets, and while one can still buy said books online, I recommend that people get them. Especially young people.

I know a lot of people will say that we no longer need those “clunky” books because we can download them online and read them on our kindles and iPads. To that I would say…yes we can….for now. But, I foresee a time in the not too distant future when we will not be able to get what we want, but instead only get what those who control the information want us to have. It honestly wouldn’t be that hard to accomplish.

I beg people, especially young people, to start a collection of books. Buy classics, buy instruction manuals, buy medical guides, prescription guides, save all the old Mother Earth news magazines, buy poetry books, political books, for God’s sakes buy accurate history books too.

One day, if every copy of “David Copperfield” or Platos “Republic” or “The March of Folly” or “The Bible” are gone….one day if or when there are no physical copies to be found, anything can be put online representing any of those books, or the many millions more…and you will have to take their word for it. Or it could just be nothing except for meaningless propaganda.

I know….you think I’m crazy. Raving lunatic.

All I know is that all of human existence from the time humans discovered how to write, has been based on the ability to accurately transmit certain aspects of knowledge from one generation to another…via books. (Scrolls, tablets, etc., you get the point)

There were the dark ages….when not so many books were being written, and civilization was miserable…..but out of that period came the renaissance.

I hate to see humanity degrade into a permanent age of darkness, fueled online by only these tiny pixels we now take for granted as being the written word. They aren’t written, they are pecked. There’s a lot of difference.

Go to library book sales, and start your own private library. Please.

Hope

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.
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. The future in which I will be missing, but my children and grandchildren and whatever descendants that I may be blessed with (who will never know I existed,) will know.

Right now, it kind of looks 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.

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!

The Chestnut doesn’t fall far from the tree

I only had one Grandfather who I can remember. My Mother’s Dad, Jervis Stewart. My Dad’s Dad, Henry Bowers died when I was two. I don’t remember him at all, and as far as I know there are no photographs of the two of us together. All my great grandfather’s were long dead. So Grandpa Stewart was my one and only.

Nowadays as our culture has changed, a lot of times people have multiple Grandparents. Steps, and Greats. Not so back in the day.

Grandpa Stewart taught me a lot of things. He helped me immensely with my love of music. He played a banjo, and was a good singer. He wrote songs. I sat out on the front porch of his house, under the stars and listened to him play. I learned to appreciate the stars and the moon.

Grandpa taught me how to shoot a .22 rifle. We would walk a piece down the road and plink a squirrel or two for supper. Grandma knew how to fix ’em up good!

We fished. I listened nightly to the stories of his youth and young adulthood. Exciting stuff for a little kid.

We went to his old two story, tin roofed house every year for Christmas and I spent many a summer break in Blue Ridge. I had a pretty good childhood in spite of many, many issues with Mom’s health and well being.

Oh…and Grandpa taught me my first cuss words. He also had a temper too..especially as he aged and his memory and cognition started to go. I never got to tell him goodbye. He wouldn’t have known. He died in 1991 in June. He was 98 years old. Besides my Daddy, he was the most influential male role model in my life. For better or for worse, the chestnut doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I have a picture of him and Grandma sitting on the dresser back in my spare bedroom. All these years I thought he looked pretty old, but not really “old”old..

The picture was taken in 1958 when Grandpa was 65 and Grandma was 59.

I looked at it today, and he doesn’t seem anywhere near as old looking as he has in the past. I guess it’s all perspective.

The First Cold Winds of Autumn

I recall as a child, the Fall was my favorite season of the year. It’s entrancing beauty, the just right temperatures, the first fresh frost of the year, which made the ‘skeeters and other bugs disappear and most of all, fall as a prelude to the wonderful holiday season.

I remember the Halloweens when we could go house to house and never worry about having to check our candy….except for this one old lady who lived over on sixth street. She would hand out marshmallows with hot peppers stuck down in them! We always just threw them away, and sometimes we would come back and throw a roll of toilet paper around in her yard.

The peace officers patrolled the town and just kept an eye out to make sure nobody was throwing eggs at cars or houses. They didn’t have to worry very much about somebody shooting at them, or having to shoot somebody. The peace officers carried guns, but they seldom ever saw use.

Onward we went from the wonderful candy collecting day to Thanksgiving with Macy’s parade, and a ton of roasted turkey. Most of the time here in the south the dressing was “pan” made. I never even had any stuffing in a turkey until after Paula and I were married. It was a great day. Out of school for a long weekend, and lots of football games. Then on from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

I don’t have time to write all the things I would like to about that wonderful season, perhaps one day soon I will.

I think back now, over these 66 years. My memory is a little spotty, but still good. I think how much I have enjoyed all of the Autumns I have lived. I think how much I have loved all the people who I am so close to, who are on this wonderful journey with me through life.

I think our lives and the way we live them are like reflecting pools. We see in others the good we want to see in ourselves…the good we have in ourselves, and we act accordingly with love. Either that, or we look at others and see reflected back the hatred or dislike that we feel for ourselves, and act accordingly with something which is less than love.

I damn sure wish I could wave a magic wand and have everyone feel the love for life, the love for my family and my few friends, which I feel when the first cold breeze of Autumn rolls in….I wish…

I know I can’t, and I never will be able to do so. I cannot express myself well enough to change the things about myself I badly need to change, but…at least I can see those things and realize them. If I have a problem with changing myself, how can I impose my imperfect will, or my imperfect opinions on other people? That would be a sign of self righteousness which it is very too late in life to try and enter into.

Enjoy the first cold breezes of Autumn tomorrow. Try to show some love. I’m going to try, and that’s all I can do.