Failure and Wisdom

Life’s most precious lessons are more likely to be learned when you fail, and we all will fail at some point…or many points in our life. What’s important is that we learn from our failures. Don’t do the same failed things over and over again and expect different results. I’ve done that. It’s insanity.

Failure, and the lessons we take from those failures will show us the way to what can be our own success. Of course it differs from person to person. If my idea of success was to be rich, then I’d be a failure. If my idea of being a success is having a great and loving family, then I’ve done better.

Remember, failure and the lessons we learn are the core of what comprises experience. They are the nucleus of what is considered in many cultures to be wisdom. The wisdom that comes with age. It’s not as valued here in our country as it is in many countries….the ones who keep their elders with them, and don’t put them away in institutions.

Never underestimate experience. Never devalue wisdom.

I got a hole in my pocket….

I love pockets, I have always loved them. The need for pockets came about during the Middle Ages when people had a need to keep their coins somewhere. At first they started putting them in bags and hanging them around their necks. They wasn’t good, because it was easy for some “cut purse” with a sharp knife to cut the string and steal your money. Then people started carrying their “purses” inside their pants so the thieves couldn’t get to them. Problem with that was when you went to pay for something you just about had to take your pants off. People started cutting slits in their pants so they could get to their purses…and from there some smart person figured out that “sewn in” purses or “pockets” would be a dandy idea. This was sometime in the 1700’s. This was a great invention!

I recollect being about 4 the first time I realized I had pockets. I was out in the front yard around the porch and noticed the little bugs we used to call “rolly-pollys” I had caught a double handful of them and having no other place to put them…I shoved some down in my pockets. Of course, I didn’t get them all out…so I heard from Momma on that one! From then on though, pockets were for everything.

I have pockets full of rocks, marbles, worms, crickets, bugs, arrowheads, marbles, coins, clover, grass, lightning bugs, and just about anything else you could get into a pocket. If I go to buy a pair of jeans, or pants I’m going to wear every day the first thing I will check out is the depth of the pockets. I don’t like shallow pockets. You sit down on the couch, or in a chair and lean back a little bit and when you get up there will be a bunch of stuff there that has “oozed “out of your pocket. I don’t like losing my stuff, so I check my pants out really well before I purchase.

I have had some important things in my pockets before too. I put mine and Paula’s wedding rings, which were in those little black ring boxes, one in each pocket. I have carried an old pocket knife which Dad gave me in my pocket, before I put it up because I was afraid I was going to lose it. (I put a tiny piece of marble from Greece in my pocket and I can’t tell you what famous building up on top of a hill from whence it came…so shhhhh.) There have been other things…

I’ve also, at times gotten holes in my pockets and have lost things…mostly change. I’ve lost a ring or two that I had put in my pocket and they just slipped right out, and down my leg and into the grass of “neverwhere” where they probably remain today. But I’m pretty careful.

I worked with a man over in Calhoun, named Max who I never, ever saw wear anything but overalls. He loved those pockets and had something specific for each of them. He passed away unexpectedly one year while I was still there and they buried him in his overalls with a John Deere hat on. I think it was one of the most appropriate uses of clothing I have ever seen. He would have loved it.

Well, just to show you that I do “practice what I preach” in this case, I dumped out the content of my pocket and posted it along with this little story. As you can see, I had just a few things squirreled away in there. Whenever I go to the Drs. Office and they weigh me, I always mentally knock off ten pounds for “pocket contents and clothing” I guess when I quit carrying stuff in my pockets it’ll be a sad day

Truth is Rarer than Gold

Can one second last an eternity? I think it can.

Could our Universe fit on the head of a straight pin. I think it might could.

For you see, relativity is everything.

What we think we know, and what is truth, are probably polar opposites.

Mostly because we are not open to thinking…. past “what’s for dinner tonight?” We take the easy answers as the gospel.

To find truth is like being a gold prospector.

Every great once in a while, one may find a small nugget laying on top of the ground….but most of the time, the gold has to be sought after with singular focus, and with hard, backbreaking work. Digging, uncovering, carefully looking, spading through tons of muck and nastiness until finally the main vein is located.

Truth is like gold. Actually it’s much more precious.

Going Down to Cripple Creek

I pick up my guitar and strum a few chords. Try to come up with a melody or a run of chords which makes sense or sounds good. I don’t devote as much time to musical pursuits now as I used to, perhaps as I should. Time’s not my friend in this arena. I think back to my Grandpa at times.

He had arthritis in his hands as far back as I can remember. Being born in 1893, he was 57 years old when I was born…67 in 1960 where my memories of his banjo playing start. The arthritis hampered his playing but I remember some of the tunes: “Cripple Creek” “Home Sweet Home” “Swanee River” many more. I tried the banjo, but it never made sense to me…I was lucky to be able to learn to play the guitar. Grandpa wrote songs too. He had two hymns published and I have the songbooks where they are sitting there on the page in black and white. I’ve never sang them, but I should. Mom always wanted me too, but for some reason I never got around to it. I regret that.

Grandpa was a talented, but strange man. I don’t ever remember him wearing anything but overalls except on Sundays. He kept his wallet in the top center pocket and would get it out and count his money at least once a day. He had his pocket watch in the “watch” pocket of those overalls and checked it quite often. It was a good watch….I’m sure one of my kin got it, but I don’t know who. At one time he owned a lot of land up where he lived at, but by the time he died, he owned practically nothing and didn’t know who or where he was. He gave me the greatest gift that I could ever receive though, right there out on his clapboard front porch, and that was the gift of music….the gift of the love of music.

It was not only the times I watched him sing and play, and the times I sang with him, but the sheer amount of time he would listen to his little AM radio. It was the times he would take our his hymnals and practice for the upcoming Sunday for hours. I had nothing to do on rainy days at his house. No TV, just the books and the radio. So I listened to a lot of hymns and a lot of country music. I think I cut my teeth on one of his hymnals… I lived at Grandpa and Grandma’s house until I was past two years old. Chewed one of them up I was told.

A lot of times when I get inspired to sing, or play the guitar or write a line of a song I can hear in the background deep down in my brain:

“Goin’ up t’ Cripple Creek, goin’ on the run

Goin’ up t’ Cripple Creek t’ have a little fun

Goin’ up t’ Cripple Creek, goin in a whirl

Goin’ up t’ Cripple Creek t’ see my girl”

Read more: Bill Monroe – Cripple Creek Lyrics | MetroLyrics

These Dreams

Sometimes when you dream, you wake up wondering why you dreamed what you did. There are all kinds of scientific explanations about what dreams are; about what causes them.

I have on some occasions been having a dream, got up and gone to the bathroom, or something else, and lay back down and resumed that very same dream. I wonder how that is possible? I suppose with the human mind, many things are possible that we do not even imagine.

I think as humans age, they dream more and more….perhaps because they actually sleep more, but perhaps, it’s because they are transitioning. The body and the mind seem to be “unlinking” somehow. Sometimes the dreams are due to diseases which attack the brain. My Daddy had Lewy Body dementia, which causes very vivid and (to the person with the disease) realistic dreams. They swear things which they dream have really happened.

Scientific explanations aside…..I wonder if our dreams are somehow a pathway to a place beyond where we are now?

I used to sit up with sick people back in the day, some of them who were on death’s door. They all dreamed throughout the night. Many of them told me of dreaming about people who had gone on before them, or about sweet dreams of pleasant things.

One man with whom I had worked in the Weave room at Trion, fixed looms all night long in his sleep, including the hand and arm motions involved. I asked him once when he woke up if he remembered what he had dreamed. “I dreamed about going home.” he said. “I dreamed about going home” A couple of weeks later, he did.

I can only remember two dreams from my early childhood. This was in the days when we lived over on the end of Simmons street in Trion. We moved there early in 1955 and moved out in the summer of 1962.

Both of them were very vivid and real to me.

In one of them, we had walked out the front door into the front yard and heard a great din of sound from above us. I looked up, and the sky was filled with every size and shape of space ship or flying saucer imaginable. “They have come to get us.” my Dad said. Then I woke up. Mind you, this was somewhere around 1960 or 61 when I had this dream. Long before “Star Wars” or “Star Trek”

“They have come to get us….”

In the other dream, we went out the back door to our neighbors fence. It was a very intricately made fence, kind of a “woven” effect. There was a great multitude of people standing out there, starting from just outside our door, and stretching as far as the eye could see. Sitting on the top of that intricate fence was God….in flowing robes and long white beard, and people were approaching one at a time for their judgement. Some were going through a gate in the fence, (which was never there in real life) while others were being zapped by God with his staff. I figured that the ones going through the gate were headed to heaven. The others…well…I woke up before it was my turn. I expect this dream was the oldest of the two.

So, here I sit wondering about dreams. I’ve been thinking about dreams all day.

I wonder if I’ll be going home, or if I’ll be picked up by aliens, or if the judgement of God awaits. Perhaps none of the three, perhaps all of the three.

Probably something totally different and unexpected that nobody…nobody…dreams of….

I’m sure I’ll dream again tonight and maybe I’ll remember what I dream. Maybe not.

As for ya’ll my friends….pleasant dreams.

America has changed

From 2014….

I grew up in the fifties in America. I was a great time. The middle class was growing. Most of our little families in the mill town where I live were able to buy the houses which had been duplex apartments owned by the company and convert them into nice little single family homes. My Dad was able to buy his first new car in 1966. A Ford fairlane. It was a pretty good little car. Had a 289, 8 cylinder motor. We ate more hamburgers by 1967, where we had eaten pinto beans and corn bread back in 1958. I think we went to Kentucky Fried Chicken to eat out for the first time in the late sixties. I was able to buy two comic books a week for a quarter a piece in the late sixties, where I had only gotten one per week back in the fifties, even though they were cheaper. I found some friends who had been collecting since the early fifties and was able to catch up on some of the series I had been wanting to read, but couldn’t afford.

By the time I graduated High School in 1968, things were beginning to change in America….and they haven’t stopped changing since that year.

John Kennedy was gone. He left in 1963. He was killed in November of that year. It was the same year that Martin Luther King had given his famous “I have a dream” speech in Washington. That had been in August of ’63. I didn’t get to see it in person, but the news carried it. I remember it well. I remember him saying:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day

live in a nation Where they will not be judged by the color

of their skin but by the content of their character. l I have

a dream … I have a dream that one day in Alabama,

with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips

dripping with the words of interposition and nullification,

one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black

girls will he able to join hands with little white boy’s and

white girls as sisters and brothers.”

Sisters and brothers. He had that dream.

Up until that year, 1968, we still had Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. But they were both assassinated that year. Fighters who would fight for freedom were gone. Heroes who would fight for all people of all colors and all creeds…who would replace them? Who could replace them? Who has replaced them?

I look at the people who are in this world of 2016 and I wonder…..what have we become a nation of? I realize there has always been hatred and division in America. America is a country which is grounded in division. We were born from division in the Revolutionary war. We killed each other during the Civil war over the division between North and South. We have been divided many times since then. But I will have to say I have never, ever witnessed the hatred and vitriole, and the pure purposelessness which I have seen recently.

I am looking very hard for some of those heroes like we had back in the sixites….

Our Heart

We think our brain controls everything, but sometimes I am not so sure, especially when it comes to our deepest most “heartfelt” emotions. That’s right, heartfelt..from the heart.

For eons, before mankind starting looking at everything from a scientific standpoint, humans thought the heart to be the center of all our emotions. Not until the age of enlightenment, and the acceptance of scientific methods did it become widely acceptable that our brains were the center of everything which make us human. Yet we still continue to associate our hearts with love.

All Valentines usually have some tie in with hearts. We give someone our heart when we fall in love. We still get broken hearts. We bless people’s hearts, not their brains!

Of course I know very well, that science is correct yet I wonder why my heart soars, and swells when my little ones do something loving. I feel it with a flutter in my chest, not in my head. I feel that warmth deep in my core when I think of the love I hold for my wife, my family. I still remember the gut wrenching pain which welled up from within me and the sobs of grief which racked me at the deaths of my parents and my daughter. If my brain was in control on those days, it wasn’t doing a very good job.

I really don’t think that even the world’s smartest scientists know everything about the way we humans are wired up. They got the schematics down pat..right down to the DNA. But they haven’t come up with the blueprints for the soul yet. I don’t think they ever will because our Creator hid them….deep down inside our heart.

Don’t give in to Fear

Thinking back to my childhood, I can remember thinking that I would die young. My Mom was terrified of dying, and unfortunately being associated with that attitude at such a young age somewhat tainted my view of living. It wasn’t really her fault, but was a symptom of her mental illness. Of course, I didn’t know that.

Living was something you did super, ultra carefully. You didn’t want to open yourself up to possibly getting killed by doing something stupid….like playing baseball ( you might get hit in the head with a baseball and get killed….yes it was that bad). I therefore didn’t play little league until my last eligible year…although it turned out I was pretty good at it. Made the All Stars, hit some home runs, had fun!

I tried to staunch my fears when I was raising my kids, but didn’t do well in some cases. They were lucky to have a stable Mom, because I was prone to panic attacks, and had irrational fears of many things: flying, bad storms, etc. I know my kids can remember. I regret those shortcomings, but at the time, I had no solutions. Later on in life, I got medication for my problems, and settled down somewhat. I say somewhat, because I still harbored some of those irrational fears. I did overcome my fear of flying and got a house with a dang good storm shelter!

I feel like that in 2010, when I had my bypass surgery, I became much less fearful of death. I became more capable of living in the day, and appreciating the beauty of the world around me, and being ever so grateful for the family I have to share my life with. Sometimes I still fear the unknown, but not nearly to the extent that I used to.

At my age, I surely don’t have to worry about “dying young” anymore. I do however, certainly want to continue to be able to build memories with my little ones as long as I possibly can.

My Mom lived to be almost eighty one years old, and only in her very final last days do I believe she found some inner strength, and sacrificed her fear of death to the ability to find some peace. I was there with her…almost all her family was there.

Build happy memories friends and family, and do not be fearful of the unknown!


There is Solace in this Life

There is solace here in this life if you will seek it. There is the smell of the fresh, clear winter air and the smell of a baby’s sweet clean hair. There’s that wonderful smell of homemade chili cooking on the stove.

There’s the sight of a huge yellow moon hanging in the night sky, almost bright as the sun. The pillowy clouds filling the fall skies, like a huge warm quilt your Grandma made you.

There’s the love of family around you as often as you can get them. The tenderness, the touching. The temper tantrums and the discipline. The togetherness in this life, and even beyond.

There are these things and more to sustain us if we will only let it. If we drop our obsessions with what others are doing, what they are saying. If we concentrate our efforts on the things that really should make us happy.

The things that really matter.

Make Room in Your Heart

Rambling thoughts from many years past:

There are far, far too many children with cancer and other serious diseases in our world. Far too many young adults dying with “old people” diseases:

“There are far, far too many chemicals, poisons, drugs, in our water and food”

There is far, far too much hatred one for the other in our world. Far too much war and atrocities being committed by humans against other humans:

“Hate is not a hereditary quality, but a learned behavior”

There is far, far too much torture of our planet going on. Forests are disappearing, oceans are polluted, the air is filled with noxious smoke, the earth itself is being drilled into incessantly, pumped full of hot water and steam in order to choke out a gallon of black goo…:

“When the Earth dies, all humans will also die. As far as I know there are no outposts on Mars”

There are far, far too few children learning to put a pencil to a piece of paper and write:

“When the plug is pulled, how will knowledge be communicated?”

I used to be able to pull my car in my Grandfather’s yard and do just about anything to it which needed doing to make it run. I changed points and plugs, solenoid switches and alternators, starters, rings and pistons. Now when I open the hood of my car all I see are computer plug ins. The one thing I recognize is the battery.

I used to check books out of the library to read, or go to one of the numerous used book stores to buy a book to read, or to trade for one. Now, I buy a “book” online and they send a few bytes of information on the internet and I read it on an electronic pad. I still own lots and lots of physical books though…including a lot of instruction manuals and textbooks.

There are far, far too many people who think their God lives inside a big brick building:

“If you make room in your heart, God will be there. If God is in your heart, you have made room” You will know, there won’t be any doubt.