Tuesday, January 19, 2021

My friends all drive Porsche

   I was born and raised in the American South. Some of my earliest memories are of my neighborhood in the mid 60's when I was a young child. Walking to the neighborhood store and even school. One my childhood friends came up to me one day in Walnut Park Elementary in Gadsden, Alabama. A more innocent time for sure. My friend was laughing and said he wanted to tell me a secret. He had learned a new word. Now, I know in this era of HBO and Netflix and Tic Tock and Facebook it's hard to believe but we honestly didn't know as much about stuff as we would soon learn. In just another couple of years all our innocence would be gone. But, not yet.

What word? He whispered the "F" word and I asked "But, what does that word even mean?" He said "I don't know but, I heard it and said it to my mother last night." What happened? I got in big trouble. He may have elaborated but 55 years has clouded my memory of the event. You would have had to be there.

I am now my 60's and I don't know where the time went. I flash forward to my preteen years and I'm about to enter the most turbulent times of my life. But, first. I'm standing in the Baptismal Pool at Cherry Street Baptist Church in Atalla, Alabama. I'm wearing white and a man is standing in front of me with a bible asking me to look at him so the congregation will see me looking out as if over them as the preacher puts his hands on my forehead and the small of what was then my young, small back and prepares to push me under and bring me back up a new being. 

Being a devout child I was praying in my mind something to the point of "Jesus, I'm not looking at him. (meaning the man in front of me just out of sight of the congregation) I'm looking at you.  Now 50 years of so has certainly clouded my memory. But, I always felt like the baptism worked. Some people now might not think so. But, then again I'm not looking at those people. I'm looking at my own spirit and for the one source that I come from.

I'm now in my early teens. Watergate is on TV news every day and even on regular TV we see the hearings. Can you imagine? News on all day long? What will happen next, 24 hour sports? I know. Crazy right? 

But, anyway I was very young so most of what caught my attention. Because honestly I didn't pay it much mind at all back then. But, there was a tall attractive blonde lady who was married to some guy named John Dean. He was some kind of big wheel in Nixon's administration. I didn't know and didn't really care just what. But, every time the camera was on her I for some reason got interested. My young male attention was suddenly on the screen. 

Anyway, these stern faced men were talking back and forth about how Nixon had broken his oath of office. Had dishonored the office of the President of the United States of America and betrayed the trust of the American people and it had to be answered for. The thing is  I saw (when I did decide to notice at all apart from Maureen Dean) I think that was her name. But, I digress. As usual. 

Anyway, stern faced old men with a dignity and a seriousness about them talking about the good of the nation. Even the Republicans which were the party of Nixon talked about the honor of the United States of America. How one man no matter who he is can not be placed above the welfare and security of the nation. Being a young person with no  real political leanings at that time other than the quiet conservatism of my grandparents who were still FDR Democrats and not overly concerned with political matters since thanks to Roosevelt they had survived the hardest times Americans had ever gone through. But, they didn't worry much about politics. My grandmother just made sure I was in church when I was at her house.

I'm at the Birmingham Airport with my aunt and uncle. It's before watergate and teenage years. My cousin is coming home from Thailand where he is stationed with the United States Airforce during the Vietnam War. He steps off the plane. He's my hero. Dress blues and I'm looking at him as if he's magic or something. This is pride. In family, in country. In something that says "We are American."

Flash forward to the 70's. Just a toke. Don't worry you won't die or lose your mind. Are you sure? Come on dude. Okay. Puff, hack. Laughter. Wow, I'm still here. That's not bad. I'll try again.

I'm on a school bus again before the previous memory happened. A really good looking girl says "so your from Gadsden. How did you end up out here in West End?" Divorce and I'm living with my grandparents. "Well, what kind of music do you like?" Alice Cooper, Bad Company, Marshall Tucker Band, Jackson Browne. That's cool she says. What about Lynyrd Skynyrd? My youthful mind heard "Leonard Skinard" and I had no clue. So of course I said "He's pretty good." She looked at me funny and later once I heard Skynyrd and loved them I was really embarrassed. How am I ever going to look at her now? It was okay. She wasn't looking at me anyway.

So, there you have a small example of Americana. Awkward and innocent and sure that God was in his heaven, The United States was the good guy's and there was order in the universe. 

Flash back to childhood. I turn on the radio in my grandparents house. Such a high number of casualties today in Vietnam. There were protest in Washington today and in a town called Berkley in California. But, I was pretty sure America was doing the right thing.

Flash back. really early 60's. Really young child. black and white stark images on TV. A coffin draped in a United States flag. A horse drawn carriage. A big room and people with sad facers walking by the coffin. Such a great president. Cut down in his prime. But, we got the "one" guy that did it you know. Those stern faced old men were in charge and they were adults. We would be okay.

But, I wonder now in my old age where the adults went. Now, the people that told me to look out at the congregation are gone on to wherever we go when we leave here. Now, the party that told my young self when I was staring at Mrs. Dean "Look , this is America and we honor our fallen hero's and our sacred oath to our nation and to our God and to our people. They seem to be gone. A man that openly gives people he doesn't like derogatory nicknames and acts like a spastic in making fun of a young man's handicap is glorified and held up as a shining example of "God's Man." While his followers say "Who you going to believe? The orange man of God or your own lying eyes?" A man who said "We are going to gather in Washington and Stop the Steal The voting and the very foundation of the United States system is corrupt and only I and you know the truth. 

Again, when it goes bad his followers are quick to say "He didn't do it." His people didn't do it. Even though they are all over the place with their threats and records saying they were going to do it and did do it. The vote was a fraud. But, senator you won on that ballot. OH, well that part was honest. But, Senator it was the same ballot. OH, Well Shut up you godless commie socialist.

But, I digress. The bottom line is I'm still here. All my faith hasn't been completely shattered. But, I no longer really believe people who say they honor the military while they mock POW"s or support a man who does. I no longer quite believe people who say they follow a poor crucified rabbi but support a man clearing a peaceful crowd out of his way so he can have a photo op in front of a church while holding a bible upside down before being told to hole it upright. "Who's bible is it MR. President?" asked a reporter. "IT's a bible." came the retort.

Jesus Wept.

So, now here I am at the end. I still think there is a purpose and we are still on an eternal journey. My faith in country isn't as strong as it once was. My faith in God is more inward now not the "just so" faith of my childhood. Not dead and not gone. Just more. Just more inward and I protect it fiercely in my own spirit and own way. I no longer believe people when they say they are pro life but healthcare and shelter and food is a privilege and if you give the hungry a morsel they won't appreciate it anyway and don't deserve it. After all "taxes:" you know. 

Still, I'm going to keep on going as long as I'm left here. I will tell you one thing. I won't fly a Biden Flag or a Confederate flag. I won't tell you that it's God's will that you blindly support a political party. I won't look the other way and defend the Democrats and even lie for them I just won't. 

So, here we are. A new day and a new President. I don't care if you claim him or not. I don't care if you vote him out if you can or if he gets eight years. I do care that if you say you love the nation that you embrace all of what that means. That if you say you love the military that you call out people. Even orange people when they disrespect it. John Mccain fought for your right to belittle him. Donald Trump made it all about himself. Still, I'm done finally with trying to make sense out of it. 

Flash back. 1963. A flag draped coffin. A little boy even younger than me. Salutes the coffin. Why did he salute mother? 

We always salute the flag and we always know that America is the good guy's Steve. 

Flash back: What is Cuba? I ask my aunt. what will happen if the Russians try to bomb us? I'm scared. 

Why don't be scared Steve. If they try that "Our guy's" will get in their planes and fly up and Rat- a - tat-tat. Shoot em down. We are American after all.


Thursday, December 31, 2020

We'll take a cup of kindness yet.

   Another year gone. I know it's been a hard one and honestly? The calendar turning doesn't guarantee things will ease up soon. But, hope is what keeps us going and I'm hoping things get better for the world at large soon. 

Anyway, it's been quite a year. People from all walks of life coming together to yell, cuss and demonize each other. It must warm the devils heart if there were such a being. I'll leave that to the more theological and religious minuded. 

But, here at the end of the year I have a personal tradition Since my early 20's and I'm now in my early 60's I take a New Year's Eve walk and talk to God. Now I haven't always managed it the past several years. But, somewhere between around 20 years old up until around 35 years old I did it faithfully. After that I did it most years and finally in my old age I am trying to revive it. It helps to clear the head.

I would always get a cup of coffee and a breakfast biscuit and head to the woods or the falls or the mountain and get somewhere away from other people and just talk out loud to God. About life and loss and hope and plans. It helped get me through some troublesome times in my youth. It helps center me now. But, today I decided to go into my own back yard and meditate instead of heading off into the woods. Honestly it's been years since I've really felt comfortable just heading out. When I'm in Gadsden or Walnut Grove or Altoona area of Etowah County I feel pretty much at home. But, it's been years since I've lived in "God's Country." 

So, today was meditation in my back yard. Well the thing is I did manage a little conversation. But, then my neighbor to the South came up the private road that leads back to his little neighborhood hood on his tractor with a grater smoothing out the right of way. Then my young neighbor came out and met with a friend in his back yard and before you knew it things were a little crowded for quiet time. 

Oh well, with age comes a little toughness and ability to roll with the punches so I decided to make a list of things I'm thankful for or enjoyed this past year. There are plenty of things that went sideways during the year. People who  got mad over politics and people who just didn't get my brilliant take on the political and social scene. But, there were also some really neat things that I'm thankful for. So, here's my list. Not all of it.

A wise woman once said to me "Steve, some things you don't discuss with anybody but God." I have found that to be good advice so this isn't a complete list but it is a real list of things that I like about life right now.

Jesus: Not the bible thumping angry judgmental Republican Jesus. Also, not the new age hippy Democrat Jesus. But, the incarnation of the Divine that I talk with about everything. Now, I might not think religion is important these days. I have my own reasons for that. I also don't recite any creeds. But, my inner life and my trust that it means something is still intact. So, why Jesus and not Buddha or Mohammed or Darwin? Well, for me and I do mean for me. The thought of the Divine being so in love with his creation that he/she would step into flesh to live it with us is an incredible thought. Now, did I pull it out of my butt? Not entirely, but yeah somewhat. But, it feels right to me and I can dance to it so I'm not going to argue about it.

Books: I grew up reading comic books and ghost stories. I discovered Stephen King via a paperback in the Gadsden, Alabama Mall bookstore around 1975 or so. I read constantly and really liked horror novels back then. But, a good Western or a Sports book or a mystery story would also pull me in. But work and responsibility pulled me and I read less for pleasure except for none fiction. I still enjoyed dipping into a UFO account or researching reincarnation or Christian takes on those subjects and some skeptical thoughts also. But, mostly I worked and got farther away from reading for pleasure. Well, since retirement I've rediscovered a love for reading a good book. I've read about three Rex Stout books about Nero Wolf and they hold up well even though they were written before my time. I've read or listened on Audible to all of Craig Johnson's Longmire mysteries. I've read a New York Times reporter Leslie Kean talking about UFO's and Life after Death. I've dipped in to reincarnation research and religious apologetics. I've read some Stephen King books again and I've read some Ian Rankin Scottish crime novels. Some Lincoln/Childs books and a John Sanford mystery. All in all I've found that my old brain cells can still enjoy a good book or explore a good UFO or paranormal case. 

Old TV Shows: I"ve discovered Perry Mason is an excellent show and I record it watch it by speeding through commercials. I love the old Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Police Story and Adam 12. I have enjoyed Carol Burnett and Red Skelton and The Andy Griffith Show. Nash Bridges and Murder She Wrote. Get an apple or two instead of a candy bar (although I backslide) and chill in front of the TV watching the classics.

Guitar: I've rediscovered strumming my ole six string and pulling up old classic rock chords and lyrics on my computer.

Movies: Some Clint Eastwood and some Mel Brooks and every once in awhile some good Film Noir. TCM has a movie on a spot called "Noir Alley" where I find some pretty good stuff.

Facebook: I know that we all get frustrated at facebook because if you are like me. You don't appreciate facebook or anybody else deciding what is fake news and what is worth reading. I'm a big boy. But, on the other hand I have been able to be active in some of my favorite author's groups, reincarnation groups, paranormal groups, classic rock groups, sports groups and also some old classmates and friends and new friends I can discuss things with over messenger. So all in all facebook is a positive. Has some issues for sure. But, I have enjoyed the interaction.

Walks: Going outside and putting on my earbuds and getting in some walking and tossing a ball to my dog and playing tug of war with an old rope. Just chilling. 

Once pandemic is over I plan on long lazy days in the bookstores of Tuscaloosa and walking around the walking trail at a local park and sipping coffee at Panera Bread. Maybe even doing some traveling with Cindy and seeing a little bit of the country if we can afford to do it.

So all in all life is still good and I am still thankful for another trip around the sun. Looking forward to the coming journey.


Friday, October 23, 2020

God has a name. Book review.

 John Mark Comer is the author of a book called "God has a Name." This is my review of it. I come to this conservative polemic written by a young Conservative pastor as a Progressive or Liberal Christian. Meaning of course that I'm Liberal not the author. So, fair warning his idea of a Christian while traditional isn't exactly my idea of who God or Christ is. So, if you are a fundamentalist I think you will like the book. However, if not or if you feel like I do about it then it's not likely to be your cup of tea. Still I wanted to be honest and I did read  the book on my Kindle Fire and took notes. However, I can't get my dang notes to come up so I had to wing this review.

4 stars for writing not for agreement. I come to this book as someone who was born and raised in the church as we say in the South. I'm now sixty three years old and no longer a biblical literalist. This author is writing to a generation of younger seekers and he does a good job of stating his case. The only problem is his case is not the profound mic drop that he thinks it is. It's that old time religion and I've been there and have the T-Shirt.

The major themes of the book are:
God is compassionate and gracious
God is slow to anger
God is abounding in love and faithfulness
Yet God does not let the guilty go unpunished

He also goes to great length (The author, not God.) to tell us that God has an exact name and then goes through mental and text gymnastics to say it's Yahweh. Now I'm not a biblical scholar so I'm not attacking or refuting his conclusion. I'm just not sure it's quite as cut and dried as he says it is. But, I do think he's right in that the Hebrews considered Yahweh to be the God that brought them out of the desert.  He goes to much trouble to let you know that It's Yahweh The Compassionate Lord, Yahweh the Gracious, Yahweh slow to anger, Yahweh Abounding in love and faithfulness, Yahweh who punishes (ever notice how the loving religious folks love the punishing?) Just saying. But, Yahweh who punishes the children for the sins of the father to the third and fourth generation. Address him by his name. Yahweh.

Now if the above sounds as if I'm being blasphemous I assure you I'm not. I'm not trying to mock or disparage faith. My own faith has brought me through and still see's me through this life. It's just that I've seen people manipulate others politically, emotionally and even sexually using Jesus and I'm kind of tired of it. But, I promise I am not an enemy of faith or of religion for that matter.

God is compassionate and gracious. I can understand that. But then the author tells of how God is jealous and doesn't let sin go unpunished. Then the writer starts talking about all the idols and false god's and how they are demonic or fake but Yahweh is the only true God. 

Then somehow he manages to bring the Hebrew Deity of Ancient Israel back to the Christians of the West and of course Jesus. He then glosses over the times when God is angry and commands genocide in his name and say's "we want God to punish us" our sense of justice demands it. Really? I don't think so.
Then of course he does the "God is like a father and your father punishes you if he loves you." 

Well, if you mean beating my ass if I tried to backtalk him then yeah. If you mean a parent grounding you for sneaking out of the house then yeah. But, if you mean allowing you to be obliterated or cast into a burning pit forever and ever then no. No I don't think that is what a loving parent would do.

I worked for a while finishing up my Social Work BSW by working at a fast food place on an Army base. I worked at Popeye's. I used to work over the fryer. We would batter the chicken and then carefully drop it into the hot grease. If you got a drop of that hot grease on you from the splatter you were in pain so we were really careful. I remember thinking as I worked over this hot and dangerous vat of grease. I wouldn't take the tip of the little finger of my most hated enemy and touch it into that grease. I mean it. I couldn't do it.

Yet some Christians want me to believe that a God of love could allow a living soul or being to be tormented for eternity in a hell fire or to be obliterated. I have to tell you that I don't consider that a God with a big G. I would consider that a god with a little g.

Finally, I thought long and hard about my faith in my youth. I finally came to a place where the atheistic idea of a meatbot in a meaningless universe seemed to me to be the insane ramblings of deluded people. I really don't think the universe is insane or meaningless.

 But, also the idea of a almighty being who creates a naked ape and then takes a powerful Angel with all power and knowledge and sends him down to earth. Then takes his own child in his anger and demands his murder and torture and by the way if this powerful fallen Angel called Satan can fool the puny little naked ape then the All mighty in his "love" will burn him for forever and ever. But, if the naked ape even after he's raped and murdered and hurt people will just say the sinners prayer before he dies then he gets a get out of jail card free. I somehow don't think God or Christ would be that random in wisdom.

I'm sorry to say the writer of this book while he's a very intelligent young man, Still didn't make religious dogma anymore sane or sensible by his mental gymnastics in this book.

So, bottom line if you are an evangelical then you will love this book. It will not challenge you at all. But, if you are seeking spiritual nourishment then this is a very light snack indeed.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

This is Halloween

   Wax lips and wax whistles. Walking in the humid Alabama night with a bag full of candy and a scary mask that I sweated in and could barely see out of. Other times there would be a hint of Fall in the air. Getting home and letting the adults check the candy to make sure there were no razor blades or other things we heard some people might put in it to harm kids. 

Going to the drive in and watching the dusk till dawn horror movie festival with parents. I have a life long love of horror and ironically it was my conservative mother who fed that love of the weird since she loved them too. Everything Orange and Black. Which was weird because we were Alabama City kids and Emma Sanson was Purple and Gold and Etowah High was blue and white but it was the hated Gadsden High that wore Orange and Black. Still, Halloween in my Walnut Park neighborhood back in the sixties was a big deal. 

My elementary school had the best Halloween Carnival ever. I can remember peeled grapes in the haunted house. The person would take your hand and tell you that was eyeballs. A coffin and then other gruesome goodies. It was before we knew anything about political correctness and before the Southern Baptist were exploited by the Fallwell types for political gain and had to hate Halloween. Just good innocent scary fun. 

This time of year is always one that brings back childhood to me. As I grew older and things changed I never again had that kind of fun on Halloween. But, the smell of candy and the feel of my Halloween costume as I trudged through the neighborhood. The wax lips and Trick or Treat bags and even the feel of Autumn in the air has never left me. 

This year I'm reading "A Night in the Lonesome October" by Roger Zelazny. It has 31 short chapters. One for each day or night in October. It's an out of print classic but I got a copy reasonably on Amazon. It has Jack the Ripper, Dracula, Sherlock Holmes and other characters and so far so good. 

I always try even as an old guy to do something special on Halloween. One year I re-read Salem's Lot and one year I watched my favorite horror movie "The Haunting" by Shirley Jackson 1963 version not the mediocre remake. this year it's A night in the Lonesome October. 

So, as I search for horror movies and think of a long ago neighborhood and elementary school. Halloween carnivals and all night movie marathons at the neighborhood drive in I hope people can find some magic in the coming year. Lord knows we could all use some

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Guitars and the night sky.

 The past sure sounds better in the telling than the actual time I spent in it back in the day. But, I guess that's part of being older.   In an older person's memory their younger self is always cooler and faster and more together than the actual experience was. But that's part of the fun of remembering I guess. I happened to go outside on this late summer night in October. Now, if you're from anywhere North of the Southeast I imagine this early October is called Autumn. It is coming. I can feel it on the wind and in the way the sun shines a little softer and the shadows grow a little longer. But, it's Alabama and that means it might frost one night soon or it might just hit 90 in the shade. 

Anyway, I thought of a couple of old friends from my misspent youth. I went outside and looked at the moon and then came back in and picked up my guitar. I thought about a certain friend who was a rock star. If he had lived longer and things had gone his way a little more I have little doubt he may have been a rock star in his lifetime. As it is he was a free spirit. I thought about playing an old Southern Rock song. 

Tuesday's Gone. I was older and more into Southern Rock. He was more of the Motley Crue and Van Halen persuasion. But, he would humor me by playing Southern Rock. Another friend was an absolute genius at guitar. He passed away too soon also. I pulled up Tuesday's Gone by Lynyrd Skynyrd on youtube and thought about how I would fumble through the chords with the two people I've been talking about. As I thought about how awkward I was on the guitar I could hear my friend snicker. He would have said (excuse my languare but he would have) "Fuck it." You sound fine.

Some nights that barrier between the worlds seems thinner than others. That's all I"m going to say about that. 

I'm just rambling since that's what blogs are for. I think music might be the only truly universal language there is. I don't always feel like hearing music. I have an old friend whio absolutely plays his downloaded music constantly. That's fine and I understand. But, honestly sometimes I just like it quiet. But, on the occasions that I do get in the mood I love to turn it up. I guess I look kind of funny driving around with classic rock blaring. But, like I say when I'm in the mood I'm in the mood.

I have a funny story about that. A few years ago I was in Target. I say a few years. God must have put time on fast forward because what seems like a few years now was in actuality around a decade now. I had found an old Foghat CD in the bargain section. It had one of the best and most fun classic rock songs from my misspent youth. "Slow Ride." So, anyway I drove out of the parking lot and put my CD in the player of my little 1998 Ford Ranger Pick up and pulled out. I came up on a youngster in a car beside me playing an annoying rap song. ( I know. but I'm an old fart) So, I pull up and roll down my window and crank up "Slow Ride." I don't know why but Ford put a really good sound system in the 98 pick up and I had it really loud. 
The kid starts to pull up a little when he realizes that the little old white dude is blasting an old rock tune that was written long before he was a gleam in this daddy's eye. 

So, I pull up a little waiting for the light to change. He then looks frustrated and actually hangs back. It was beautiful. For just a second it was 1975 and I was young and crazy and had my music cranked up. 

I wonder about life at times. It goes so fast and we take so much for granted. I am glad that the internet wasn't around in my youth. I mean I did some crazy stuff and I'd hate to be judged now by my 17 or 18 or 19 year old self. So, I try to give people room to be human. 

Anyway that's enough blabbing for one night. I like to think maybe my friend's are jamming somewhere. Maybe when I get there I'll figure out how to play lead guitar or at least keep up. But, I'm not in a big hurry. I'm just thinking and looking at the night sky and wondering about all the worlds there might be just waiting to be discovered. 


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The road goes on forever.

October is the time when men think mostly about far places and the roads which might get them there...Stephen King "Mrs. Todd's Shortcut." 

   I have long been of the opinion that this life is a pale reflection of my real home. It just seems like if I can get still and meditate I will see the real world. Right there. Just beyond the horizon. It's why I have always loved the road. Something about a two lane road heading over the hill and to who knows where has always intrigued me. I mean you could go anywhere. Maybe that road leads to Narnia if I could just keep going. Stopping along the way to revisit parts of my life that I didn't do right the first time. Maybe looking in on my younger self to let him know that most of that really serious stuff is just stuff and if he relaxes it will be a smoother ride. 

One of my favorite Stephen King stories is a little known short story. I think it's in the Skeleton Crew collection. It's called "Mrs. Todd's Shortcut." Mrs Todd is a young woman married to a hard driving successful man. They have a lake house or vacation home in rural Maine. Mrs Todd is young and pretty and a free spirit. An older local named Homer who works for the tourist and keeps up the part time residents summer homes during the Winter strikes up a friendship with her. She has a really nice vehicle. Now if memory serves it might have been a Mercedes. I'm not sure. Anyway, Mrs. Todd is forever speeding around the town and trying to find the shortest route to a big city and back. It might be Boston or it might be Bangor it's been a while since I read the story. Homer is talking to one of his buddies and telling the story of Mrs. OPhelia Todd. Homer is now in his 70's and was already older when he met the young Mrs Todd.

Anyway, she is constantly telling the old timer about her trips. About how much time she's shaving off and her shortcuts. Finally, he agrees to go with her. It's  a wild ride and it seems as if time and space are folding around them. Creatures  that look just a little off are quickly glanced out the window. Not quite a normal beaver or dog or fox. Not quite sure but the birds look a little different and the trees have some sort of will. They seem to move a little. It's exciting and scary at the same time. Something seems to come at them and when they get back there does seem to be the remains of some creature on the front of the car. But, surely it's a stray coyote or something. Anyway during the trip she also seems to transform. She becomes like Diana the Goddess for him. 

Speeding across the sky or in this case  the road in her chariot. She looks beautiful and dangerous and seems to no longer be the housewife of the rich man at home. She's Diana Goddess of the Hunt. They are in a different realm and once they get home Homer takes his leave quickly and gets back to his aging wife and the safety of home.

But, Mrs. Todd is forever talking with Homer about how much time she is shaving off on her trips. She still invites him to come along but he always finds a way to decline. He wants to go. He may even be in love with the young woman. But, he just can't make that leap. Finally one day he talks with her and she tells him she has found a new path. A new shortcut that she will try today. While she talks he can see the Goddess Diana. He knows that this time will be the last time. She invites him but he declines again. The last time he ever see's her is as she is pulling away. Forever young. Forever the Goddess of the Hunt. 

So, years later he's telling the story to his buddy about the long missing Mrs Ophelia Todd. Her husband remarried after a proper time. And of course time moves on but Homer wonders where Mrs. Todd is. He can hear the sounds of the hunt and the carriage bearing Diana. She found a road that led to a different place. A different road. Maybe a road that goes on forever.

I always liked that story. I read it and read it again and not to long ago read it again.I love the idea of a road that goes forever. You never know what might be over the next hill. The next bend. Maybe it will be a world where people fly starships and there has never been death or decay or slavery or murder. Maybe the sky is eternally blue and the grass a green that is so deep that you just feel like rolling and running through it. Flowers and smells, colors and scents that you have never experienced before. 

Old broken relationships repaired and lost things found. Maybe, just around the bend. Just over the hill. It's a place of light and hope and everything is done out of love and out of relationship. I know it's there. Sometimes if I'm really quiet and still I can just see it. Just almost reach out and touch it. I dreamed it was so and so I know it is. 


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Kickin' it with Jesus on I-59

 Last day of August around 11:00 AM on I-59 heading into the Ham as the locals (especially the radio personalities that long to be eternally cool called Birmingham.) Man that sky is blue and the clouds are fluffy and white. The day is beautiful. Reminds me of when I used to visit Grandma Snead right before she passed. The  sky outside her room would look so blue and the clouds so white. She was by that time bent and hurting from Rheumatoid Arthritis. I wondered if she noticed how bright the day was. I thought of how short life is and I always wanted to take advantage of those bright days while I could.

I like to thank that she (and I really believe she has) found the next part of the journey filled with bright days and a healthy body or vehicle  for her spirit.

 Thanks for the day. I am of course nervous since it's a cardiology check up and Echo but still it's beautiful.
 Jesus: Now why would you be nervous? 
"Well, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be rushed into the hospital. Probably my heart valve will come loose in the parking lot. My BP will be so high that my head will explode and I'm pretty sure I will be committed to the hospital ICU and that I'll catch Covid and die."
Other than that. I'm good.

Jesus: You can be silly. 
"I get that from you. or at least from your pop's."  

Anyway, now I've decided that the heart is fine. But, this mole on my face that just popped up? I'm pretty sure my jaw is going to plop into my cereal one morning soon."
Jesus: "Jaysus, you are a worrier ain't ya?" 
Me: I doubt Jesus would say that and I highly doubt he would use his own name with an exaggerated American attempt at an Irish accent  but I try to find humor where humor is due. 

Anyway, he's put up with my humor so far. It's how I stay sane. 
I really am thankful for the day. I know that life has passed really quickly and it seems like yesterday I was just a kid and I swear I still expect to see a 22 year old me when I look in the mirror..

Jesus: You know that even if or when your heart did or does collapse or if  your jaw did fall off into your cereal I've still got you. 

Me: I do.know. I may not be a really religious person these days. But, I firmly believe that as long as I AM that you will be there. IT's one of those  reasons that all though it makes the fundamentilist mad and the atheist rolls their respective eyes I don't fear eternal torment. But, that's my journey and I don't preach. I don't listen to others preaching at me either.

I remember after my heart surgery when the valve stitches were coming loose and I was told I would have to either have more surgery which my heart was possibly too weak to survive or a procedure to repair the valve. Which the surgeon at the hospital wasn't very experienced in doing.

 Cindy came through via her phone and internet and found Doctor Ahmed who was at Princeton at the time and now at U.A.B.. As I was being transferred to Princeton Hospital via ambulance  I just felt  that God had shot me into the universe from a giant pinball machine but that I was headed exactly to where I needed to be at the time. 

Jesus: I had you.
Me: I kind of feel that right now. Thank you.
Jesus: Love never fails.

Life is short. Enjoy the journey and if you ever find yourself heading down the highway or interstate remember that the trip is short but the journey is eternal.