Saturday, July 20, 2019

I didn't come here and I ain't leaving.

I'm not half the man I used to be. There's a shadow hanging over me. Oh, yesterday came suddenly...The Beatles.

Why in the world do we and by we I mean me. look back on the seventies and eighties as such a great period of time? I think it's because as you get older and your body makes some really silly demands on you. "I'm talking to you heart and lungs" When you find the long walk or the hot sun takes it out of you then you look back on youth with more fondness than you had while living it.

I don't so much miss the seventies as I miss my hair. Long thick hair and being asked by certain kinds of folks if I "was a boy or a girl." Being asked if I knew I had "Jesus Hair." Yep, I miss that. I miss being able to drink and party after working second shift and being able to get up the next morning and feel like I would be ready again as soon as the shift ended that evening.

Now, don't get me wrong. It's not the party or the drinking I miss, It's the feeling of being young and bullet proof and ready to rock.

Twenty one and strong as I can be. I know what freedom means to me. And I can't give the reason why. I should ever want to die....Eagles.

It's funny looking back though. I think about how I was sleep waking once the eighties arrived. I met this girl back then and honestly I'm not just saying this in case my wife reads this. I don't remember the girl's name. But, I wuz in luv..She really did have the greatest makeup and that eighties look down. She looked like Stevie Nicks but with much more makeup and eye shadow. But, now I can't recall her name so it kind of put's the youthful "luv" in perspective.

"Oh, I love to be in love." ...Bette Midler with a hint of sarcasm quote from "The Rose."

I loved that movie. I thought Bette was robbed of an Oscar that year. I also love that quote. It put's some of the silly stuff I see from older people these days on facebook in perspective. Everybody get's desperate and has to have somebody else. A guy or a girl to complete them. But, hey I've seen this movie before in my youth. Maybe,I'm just getting old and crabby.

"Not everybody believes in Ghost, But I do. Do you know what they are Trisha? She had shaken her head slowly. "Men and women that can't get over their past..That's what ghosts are....Needful Things by Stephen King

It took me awhile but I got over the ghosts of my past. I try to remember that I really do have today and this moment in time. I don't long to go back to the seventies or eighties but I do miss some folks and I hope to see them again down the road.

And may we meet again, in the clearing, at the end of the path....The Dark Tower...Stephen King.

So, I don't miss the years or the lifestyle or the teenage or young adult angst so much. But, I do miss my youthful energy and the feeling that life is stretched out in front of me and mine for the taking.

It's been so long now but it seems now that it was only yesterday. Gee, ain't it funny how time slips away...Willie Nelson

It's funny how people look at you when you get older. Kind of like your opinion or attitude is cute or quaint or to be tolerated. I wonder. Is that how I looked at older folks when I was twenty one or in my early thirties? If so then I needed my little butt kicked back then.

When my life is over I'm going to stand before the Father. But, the sisters of t!he sun are going to rock me on the water now... Jackson Browne

So, it ain't over yet and I'm going to live today and not live in the past. But, I'm not apologizing for my past either. At least not to other people that have their own baggage to deal with. Nope I don't so much miss the seventies or at least not to the extent of constantly living in the past.

But, I do miss my hair!


Sunday, July 14, 2019

Ramblings at 3:00 AM

  So, here we are again. I wonder about how all this works. From the time of my youth you have allowed me to come to this place. I can see it clearly at times. At other times not so clearly. I remember the first time or at least the concept of the first time I came here. I was just a kid and scared by a fire and brimstone sermon and was really sure that I was about to be thrown in hell for my sins. No, I realize now that kid's shouldn't be worried about the weight and guilty feelings of the elders. But, it happens and so there I was. Out in my yard and honestly telling God that I would never do such things as were running through my young mind. Really intrusive thoughts were pummeling me.

But, I got quiet and still because you did answer. In the confusion of my mind and the pummeling of thoughts you brought me to a room. A heart room, a sanctuary. I saw a couch and I set down and there you were. You said "It's okay." "those voices are calling and talking about me not you." "So, from now on anytime you hear them picture this sanctuary. This is your place and my place. You and I are the only ones with any authority here. I am the only authority that has the right to touch you here. To be here with you. So, picture a door and see them knocking on it. From now on whenever you hear those voices or think those thoughts just sit here. I'll answer the door. You did answer the door. You answered the door every time they knocked over the years. You saved my sanity and when I was strong enough to stand on my own you allowed me to stand. 

I still come to this room from time to time. I still need the sanctuary. I don't battle those particular demons these days. I don't have to because you answered the door a long time ago. I know that several years ago I woke up in a dream in this room. You gave me another gift and an assurance that things are on schedule but, that I shouldn't try to worry about things that are not ready yet. 

Lately, I've tried to meditate in a place with a running creek and it's been pretty good. I even have an app on my phone that I can play and hear water running. I can imagine the banks of the stream and think and meditate. It's not the same as the sanctuary but, it's my attempt at the walks I used to do up at Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, Alabama when I was a teenager and young adult.

My favorite thing was the New Year's Eve walks where I would get a breakfast biscuit and a cup of coffee early in the morning and head up to the falls and walk in the woods. I would think and pray and we would have the inner dialog and the out loud talks that have secured my sanity over the years. I have done those walks over the years but not in recent years. But, I've never forgotten them. Now that I'm retired who knows? Maybe I'll find a place and a time to resume my New Year's Walk. I won't rush it because if it's time I won't have to. 

I remember back when I was young and really wanted to know just what was true. Was the fire and brimstone of my youth true? Was the atheism of some of the smart people who sniped about religion true? What about those memories of another time and place that I had snippets of? What were they? Was the bible true? I just kept living and talking to you and slowly oh, so slowly learning to think for myself. I put down a lot of stuff over the years. I came to terms with the inconsistency of the fire and brimstone religion of my upbringing. I was able to make up my own mind about the hopelessness of atheism and trying to put lipstick on a dead pig and calling it meaningful. If there was no meaning then the universe was cold, stupid and insane. Not even evil, just insane. If God were a puppet master being arbitrary and deciding that if you said the sinner's prayer and recited a creed you were okay but if you didn't then you would burn up forever then God should be spelled with a little "g" not a bit "G" 

So, I kept moving and living. At times pushing away the inner voice and doing what I had to do to fit in and be a part of the club. Falling in love and lust and self medicating with alcohol and some drugs from time to time. Screwing up and not treating loved ones and animals and other people with the respect they deserved. I think I slept through the entire decade of the 80's or at least was so drunk and stoned and in and out of the religion of my youth getting a healthy dose of guilt that the decade just kind of passed me by. Or I passed it by. Whatever!

I got my feet under me in the late 80's. I still had a lot of trauma to come and I had no idea what the universe was about to unload on my young and aging adult ass. But, I did get my sea legs and was able to navigate my way a little better. Day by day a little more securely. 

So, a little over a year ago I find myself in a hospital with a leaky heart valve and after years of ignoring the flip flops of my heart and avoiding cardiologist the universe smacks me upside the head and there I was. Got to go under the knife or die a slow death by drowning in my own fluids. I'm not trying to be dramatic here. It's just the truth. So, I finally get the surgery. I chose the mini invasive. Meaning  they make a robotic cut and instead of breaking the sternum they go in and remotely replace the valve. It was the heart/lung machine that scared the shit out of me. This little ole heart had been beating for about six decades and I was pretty sure it had not taken many breaks over the years. But, now it would be stopped and it's function would be taken over by a machine for a few hours give or take. What if it wouldn't start back up? But, like I said once you hear the cardioloigst tell you that the breathing will get worse and you will get weaker and weaker and unable to breathe until you die it kind of makes you a little less hesitant to go under the knife.

I did wake up. But, then the stitches sprang a leak and I had to have another surgeon at another hospital repair the leak. Thanks to my wife Cindy who got on the phone and the internet and researched and called between hospitals and surgeons until she found the guy who could do the job. Long story short she saved my life with her persistence. I was so tired and weak by then that I wasn't going to be able to save myself. But, the day came and there I was ready to be transferred to another hospital and another procedure. This time they wouldn't stop the heart. It wasn't strong enough. They would go through the groin and plug the leak. Thankfully, medical science has really progressed in open heart and valve replacement and now they are not always having to open the heart.

Anyway, back to me and you. You gave me the inspiration/vision/intuition while I was in the hospital of being shot out of a pin ball machine through the universe to a purposeful destination. That's how I felt in the ambulance. That I was being lined back up in front of the lever in a pin ball machine and God had pulled the lever and shot me back through the universe and I was traveling to another destination and so I lay back in the ambulance and allowed the universe to do it's thing.

So, they plugged the heart valve and the heart is getting stronger by the day and life has really changed for me. I look at every day as a gift. A bonus. I feel like I'm playing with house money. I really was almost gone and now I'm able to walk around. To laugh with my son and talk and argue with my wife and catch up with old friends on facebook. My memory isn't a steel trap like it was in my youth. I no longer have as much patience as I did. I can't lift heavy objects and if I had to defend myself in a fight i'd be in trouble. I still run my little mouth though. 

  So, what have I learned? That the universe has a purpose but no I don't think God sits on a throne and micro manages everything. I think we live with a plan and the first time we get hit in the mouth we drop the plan and have to keep playing the game. I think shit happens and I think the bad guys win more often than we are comfortable with. 

But, ultimately there is a river. A time when I will and so will all creatures drop the body. I had a dream one night many years ago. I came to a river. It looked really cold and I was afraid to cross. I told whoever was there that I couldn't cross . I'd die it was so cold. "Get in. You have to cross." Finally, after really not wanting to enter I did get in. The cold was so intense that I felt it freezing my body. I knew I would die. But, the exhilaration was so immense that I felt my spirit, myself soaring in joy. 

So, here we are. Still on the journey. You have given me some more time and yet I could die today. That's the thing that I think frustrates atheist and terrifies religious people. There is no absolute guarantee that the good guys will win and that we will be physically protected. No rapture of the saints out of the cold cruel world. No, scientific utopia where we find the cell that will reverse aging and death. We have right now, right here. This eternal moment. Death? Sickness? yeah. But, also hope and life and health. It all gets jumbled up together. 

Scary? Yeah. But, there is a river! 


Saturday, July 13, 2019

Thoughts about stuff.

  I first started this blog as a way to put my thoughts down and to have fun. I think sometimes about politics and religion and race relations and all the rest. But, honestly I've learned that you can't change anyone's mind by facebook memes and endless links and telling them how stupid they are for believing or not believing something. I can honestly say that nobody has ever changed my mind by yelling at me or cursing at me or calling me an inbred southern hillbilly redneck religious fanatic, devil worshiper, witch, libtard, or any other of the countless way's that folks have of making themselves feel better about themselves or keep themselves in a dither about how other people choose to live this wonderful, tragic, experience we call life.

  So, sometimes I like to talk about things that make me smile or make me happy or give me hope.

"I made a decision to believe in God because it's better to believe than not to believe," he said, noting that his belief became possible while in the throes of addiction. "So it was easy to say, 'If I've got a power greater than myself okay, that's fine, I can use that to make life livable and good.'".....Stephen King.

  Now, I don't do guru's. Not even my favorite author who I just referenced. Okay, maybe if I had to have a guru it would be Willie Nelson. But, other than Willie I really don't do guru's. But, like my favorite author Stephen King I made a decision based on my lifetime of inner dialog with the divine that I now call Holy Spirit and also with my later years practicing or dabbling with meditation that I am in the "Yes" camp on belief although belief isn't really the right word. Belief has such a religious sound and belief is kind of like a theory. If you disprove the theory then you disprove belief. After six decades and counting on the earth I really feel a little stronger than belief about my worldview. 

“Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.” ―Helen Keller

So, my feeling that life has purpose and that my loved ones and others that I have lost over the years are just in the next room gives me something to smile about.

Books are a uniquely portable magic....Stephen King

Books have made me smile. From my earliest childhood it just seemed like books took me to other places. I don't know if I had been born into this generation if I would have the same love affair with the printed word. I do know that I don't read as much as I used to. Maybe some of it has to do with my eyesight which was severely nearsighted in my youth and is really uncomfortable these days when trying to read print. But, I also think it has to do with streaming videos and instant youtube and other clips. It just seems like there is so much instant information out there these days. Not , wisdom but information. Oh well. Anyway books made me smile. 

“Childhood itself is a myth for almost all of us. We think we remember what happens to us when we were kids, but we don't.” 
― Stephen King, Danse Macabre

Not for me. I remember what happened. I just choose to tell the story these days in a different light. Maybe that's what movies do for us. Movies make me smile. Seeing Clint Eastwood stroll into town and the bad guys are laughing and spitting tobacco juice and slapping around innocent people. But, when Clint does that Eastwood squint and throws that poncho back you just know that in a minute justice will be served and the world will be made right again. Yeah, it's a rush because it takes you out of the day to day dog eat dog world and for once the good guy's kick ass. I don't hold movies to a really high standard. Just entertain me for an hour or two and let me kick back eat a tub of buttered popcorn and suck down a big ole soda. I'll worry about the weight and the blood pressure tomorrow. But, for right now just take me to a different world. Yeah, it makes me smile.

Stuck in some sticky situations
Feelin' like I wanna explode
All this gratification
And sick conversation
Someone get me out of town

Oh well, it's been a good day in hell
And tomorrow I'll be glory bound...Eagles

Music makes me smile. The above song is not really the best example of making me smile. It's an old Eagles song and not from the ole top forty radio hits. It's from what would have been called the "B" side back in the day. But, it was one of my anthems in my misspent teenage years. It kind of described a lot of what I felt back then. But, still a good song could take me to a different place and relieve a little of the teenage hell of my overly dramatic youth.
“I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy.” ,,,Steve Martin
Sex makes me smile. But, uh I ain't gonna talk about that. So, let's talk about comedy. Comedy makes me smile. I grew up with the greatest music and also the greatest comedy stand up's in history so far. As a child i would tune in and see Don Rickles or some other Vegas type comic on the Tonight Show or other talk shows. As a teenager Richard Pryor and Steve Martin and comedy movies like Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. Nothing politically correct about it. Everybody was a target but it wasn't cruel or degrading. People didn't need safe spaces and Republican or Democrat the old time comedians would take their shot at you. Comedy is a way of laughing at the seriousness of the world.
So, I get it. Donald Trump has free rent in some folk's head. Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi have free rent in other's head. OMG, the world is going to boil due to global warming and the illegals are going to come for us in our beds. The right wing racist white nationalist are going to kill all the people of color and the liberals are going to take all the guns and put us in a Latin American style dictatorship. But, before all that happens and you completely lose all sense of balance try to find something to smile about today. 


Monday, July 1, 2019

Seas of youth and age.

  Teach your children well, Their father's hell did slowly go by...Crosby,Stills and Nash

  So to my horror and pride and amazement I find myself in the car with my 16 year old son yesterday. I'm a Baby Boomer. Born on the tail end of the boom but still. I had a son later in life and now at 62 I have a full fledged teenager. I think he's more mature and in some way's an older soul than I was at the same age. I was angry and insecure and very, very innocent to the world. He seems more self assured and less anxious about life. But, then again his mom and I are both there for him and try not to mess him up. I'm a little left of center and she's really left of me so we haven't put a lot of the guilt on him that our conservative Bible Belt parents put on us. But, on the other hand we also haven't given him the absolute faith that my grandmother instilled in me. It still works for me. I know Cindy feels differently but I still find a certain strength in just getting off somewhere and talking to God. I mean I don't really think that God is an old angry man in the sky these day's. But, I still have an inner dialog and my own life experience that tells me I'm not alone. Still, we raised our son with no religion. I don't think that's either better or worse. It's just the way we have done it.

Baby I've been here before I know this room, and I've walked this floor...Lenard Cohen.

But, I do worry that I could fuck it up. Sorry if that offends but it's honestly how I feel. I don't really feel like a man in his early 60's. I still find my teens are just a thought away. I remember how fragile my ego and my self confidence was at that age and I don't want to mess up my child. I think it's easier to screw a young person up than it is to fix them.

People’s minds, particularly the minds of children, are like wells—deep wells full of sweet water.... Stephen King "Eyes of the Dragon." 

So, I try not to screw up my child. I hope I didn't and I hope I don't.  Youth. Man that goes by fast. So many hurdles to get past. Education, Jobs, Training, Relationships, Drugs, Alcohol, loneliness. Any and all of them can kick you in the butt at anytime.

I read The Eyes of the Dragon to my son over several nights when he was a little boy for his bedtime story. He liked it but he didn't grow up to be a Stephen King fan. Oh well, at least he grew up to like reading. So, I did something right. Anything good honestly and I'm not just saying this has come from his mother. She's the always there parent.

But my dreams they aren't as empty as my conscience seems to be....Behind Blue Eyes...The Who

Well, first I don't have blue eyes. Secondly I do have a conscience. But, like some men especially in my family I tend to kind of go somewhere else. I am often somewhere back in time or in the future and distracted. I don't drink anymore and I haven't smoked pot in over 30 years. But, I still have the need to kind of zone out.

And you, of tender years, can't know the fears that your elders grew by,....Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Sometimes I just want to go back to around 1975 and pick up something I must have misplaced. But, I'm not sure what it is.

Well my time went so quickly I went licketly splitly out to my old 55 as I pulled away slowly feelinso holy God knows I was feelin' alive....Eagles....Ole 55

Maybe that's it. I felt so alive when I was in my teens. But, I was also fragile. I want to tell my son how fragile life is. How precious and hellish and fast it go's by. I just don't how.

Love lost, such a cost, give me things that don't get lost...Neil Young "Old Man."

So, I say a prayer to a God that has shifted on me through the years but has always and always will be there. I don't need to prove it to you. I'm past that now. But, I just hope I have left enough and hoped enough and been here enough to have encouraged my son.

A time to be born, a time to die a time to plant a time to reap A time to kill, a time to heal....The Byrds

I guess that's one of the things I've learned. There is a purpose. I don't always know what the hell it is. I mean shit happens. But, ultimately when you look at life and death and you look at a cancer ward and children dying and you understand that the universe can't be quite that blind and quite that stupid. I know it's weird but that's a reason to have faith. To not give up. Because this is a dream. A very persistent dream but a dream none the less.

This is all an elaborate hoax...Roger Ebert.

My son is not a believer in an afterlife. He is an Agnostic. Which is more honest in my opinion than straight atheism or dogmatic religion. But, I know that life is going to throw some things at him and I like to remind him that there is more than meets the eye to this world. I can't take my life experience and download it into him and make him a clone. I'm glad I can't. But, just as the religion of my grandmother doesn't work for me her prayer and faith still works even for me. It's hard to explain. It's just a foundation.

A dream as the thunder wakes her and her highway man disappears on a life already lived before in eyes welled with tears...Highwayman...Stevie Nicks.

The only religion I leave to my child is to treat others the way you want to be treated. This world likes to recycle so try to recycle empathy and compassion. Also, humor and hope.

Before my son was born we talked about names. Cindy and I finally settled on Fox. It was the name of our favorite character in our favorite show "The X-Files. I'm older than her and we didn't have an "our song" since I was Southern Rock and she was Alternative Rock. But, we had an "our show."

I was in Colorado Springs and she was pregnant with Fox. We had already decided to call him that. I was walking on Fort Carson and thinking about him on his way to earth. I think I first heard John Denver describing that feeling some years before about one of his children. Feeling their soul on the way to the planet. That day I could sense that he was near in some way. I looked up and there ahead of me in this army neighborhood was a little red Fox. I have told him that story. He remains agnostic to his father's belief in soul contracts and past lives and even psychic connection. After all he doesn't remember it.

Still, maybe somewhere down the line he will need to have a reason to hope that this is not all there is. Maybe I have at least left him that and maybe a little more than just that..

I'm sailing away set an open course for the virgin sea. I've got to be free. Free to face the life that's ahead of me. On board I'm the captain so climb aboard We'll search for tomorrow on every shore and I'll try oh Lord I'll try to carry on...Come Sail Away...Styx

Good luck son. Full sails and happy sailing.