Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sissies Need Not Apply

As I approach another birthday, I’m telling you right now that this getting old crap isn’t for sissies. It takes a real man to stand right up…and shuffle off to the bathroom to pee three or four times a night. Yes sir! And you can’t be faint of heart with fiber. No sir! You’ve got to take it…take it like a man. A hopefully regular man. And these tests you have to start taking…geez. You feel like your back in high school except most of these tests end in “oscopy” and involve various bodily orifices that are usually much more comfortable with stuff going in the opposite direction. I don’t think I’ll ever forget those words the doctor spoke at my first sigmoidoscopy…”We’re only going up about three feet.” Sissies need not apply. I’ll leave you today with this. I didn’t write it…wish I had…but I think it’s most appropriate. "At age 4 success is not peeing in your pants. At age 12 success is having friends. At age 16 success is having a driver’s license. At age 20 success is having sex. At age 35 success is having money. At age 50 success is having money. At age 60 success is having sex. At age 70 success is having a driver’s license. At age 75 success is having friends. At age 80 success is not peeing in your pants." - Unknown

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

For Amelia and Brady...Fly

Remember when you first learned to ride a bike? Remember that feeling in the pit of your stomach as Dad took the training wheels off? The anticipation, the excitement...the fear? Dad would run along side holding you up as you tried to peddle faster and faster. Remember how red his face got and how he huffed and puffed? You’d be screaming, “Don’t let go...Don’t let go.” But he would...and you’d fall. You’d skin a knee...bruise an elbow. Then one time Dad let go and...you didn’t fall. You were actually riding a two-wheeler. You were flying. You were lord of the sidewalk. And all the skinned knees and bruised elbows were a small price to pay for the feeling of the wind on your face and this new found personal freedom. The point is you took a chance. Sure you failed a few times, but when you succeeded...you were magnificent. Life is like that. Never take a chance and you’ll never fail, you’ll never skin a knee, you’ll never bruise an elbow...you’ll never fly.

Monday, August 18, 2014


My grandson Brennan invented a very special word all on his own. Brennan invented Yesternight. As in…remember yesternight when we had chocolate ice cream? Or…remember yesternight when we went to the zoo? Yesternight. I remember some yesternights Brennan. I remember the yesternight when you were born. I remember the yesternight when your Momma was born. I remember the yesternight I married your Grandma. Just a few yesternights ago. I’ve lived a lot of years Brennan so I’ve lived a lot of yesternights. Some remember better than others, but I keep them all carefully tucked away on the yesternight shelves of my brain. And sometimes when I need a smile I’ll take a precious one down, dust it off and remember when. So, Brennan…remember yesternight when you invented…yesternight? Thanks my love. Fill your heart with all the wonderful yesternights you can. I hope Grandpa shows up in a few of them.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

For Robin...

What if there is no heaven, no spiritual afterlife, no freeing of the soul from its physical body to seek another plane of existence? What if when you draw your last breath and your heart beats its last…it truly is over? You would feel no sorrow because you wouldn’t feel at all. There would be no guilt over anything done or not done. There would be no regrets, no what ifs, no what might have beens, no disappointments lingering in your soul…because you wouldn’t have one. You…would be over. You would never know that you ever existed. To you it wouldn’t matter how richly or poorly you felt you lived your life or how you treated people or how people treated you because you…no longer exist. There would be no memories, no thoughts to look back fondly on, no judgement…no nothing. Your spirit and its amazing beauty, wonder, curiosity and capability to love, hate, hurt and heal…would stop with that last breath and beat. The end. I find that odd. I can’t quite get my hands around the thought that a being capable of creating music and laughter…would not go on…somehow…somewhere.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sacred Ground

We had the tired, old apple tree taken down last week. Standing there looking at where it had stood all those years reminded me of something I'd written some years ago. A tree fell in the back yard the other night. Luckily it missed the house although it did take out the deck, the grill and a section of the fence. Now, all the damage is fixable, but that magnificent 60 foot maple tree is gone forever. I counted the rings on the broken trunk and that tree was 132 years old. It got me thinking. That tree was a sapling when we were still grieving for the boys who never came home from the Civil War. It stood tall and strong as our soldiers went off to the war to end all wars. And stood guard still as our boys went off to...World War II. It saw the dawn of flight and man on the moon. It watched families in this house grow up...grow old...be born and die. Some rings were fat...years with a lot of rain. Others were very thin...years of heat and drought. I imagined hot summer evenings at the turn of the century with neighbors sitting on the front porch sipping lemonade and tossing “Hot enough for ya's” back and forth. Well, the old maple is gone now and all that remains is a big old stump. You know, I don’t think I’ll have that stump removed. To me...it’s a little piece of sacred ground.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Do Overs

My grandson's love of baseball reminded me of this. How many moments in your life have there been where you’d like to get a “Do Over”? Remember those? One more chance to change the outcome. One more shot at something or someone to make whatever turn out differently. There is one moment in my life that I still have dreams about getting a “Do Over”. Actually there are a lot of moments in my life I still have dreams about I'd like to do over, but this one pops up pretty regularly. I’m twelve years old and my little league baseball team is in the city playoffs. We’re playing South Side Shell. Now, imagine hearing that name again…South Side Shell…only this time it’s with James Earl Jones’ voice complete with Darth Vader echo. Not only are they all big and scary, South Side Shell shows up wearing full uniforms. Not kidding…full uniforms including socks and spikes. We had blue shirts with white numbers and bring your own hats. Some of us had socks…none of us had spikes. Their coaches even had full uniforms. Our coach was our first baseman’s big brother and he was wearing a “Wonder Bread builds strong bodies twelve ways” T-shirt. After watching them go through batting practice and some infield stuff, most of us were pretty sure they were actually a farm team for the Cleveland Indians. We played them pretty tough though. And the score was actually tied going into the bottom of the ninth inning. So, here comes the moment. Bottom of the ninth, they’re up with two outs and a man on third. I’m playing third so I’m not too far away from Mr. South Side Shell…and his full uniform. A huge, they said he was thirteen, but I saw the five o’clock shadow, kid steps up to the plate. The full uniform on third looks over at me spits and whispers, “Game over rookie”. I give him my best snarl and spit right back. It landed on my shoe. Here’s the pitch…and with a vicious crack of the bat here comes the ball…right back at me. I’m not sure if I closed my eyes or not, but dangit…I caught the ball. I spun…set my feet…and threw it twenty feet over the first baseman’s head and into the bleachers. Game over. And even though the ball did manage to hit the kid who stole my best girl at the roller rink the night before…I still dream about getting a “Do Over”.