Category Archives: Daily prompt

Music Soothes My Guilty Soul

Today’s daily prompt is asking us to write about our guiltiest guilty pleasure.

First thought is that pleasures should not make you feel guilty, but then I think about some things I have done IN THE PAST and I have to recant that statement.

Eating is a guilty pleasure, overeating is a PROBLEM

Laziness is a guilty pleasure, excessive laziness is a PROBLEM

Playing those stupid games on Facebook is a guilty pleasure, actually paying money to play them is a PROBLEM.

Seems to me like there is a fine line between guilty pleasures and PROBLEMS.

Music, I think that music would have to be my guilty pleasure that I have no intention of ever giving up. I just looked at my ITunes screen and it is telling me that I could listen to all the music in my library for over 41 days and never hear the same song more than once. 12601 songs, 41.4 Days, 116.02 GB are the exact numbers.

There is so much music out there to choose from, and there is so much out there that is not (over) played on the airwaves, and I want it all. I can’t explain it, but if I hear something that I like, I want it in my library. Yes there are songs that I own that I probably haven’t listened to in years but at least they are there and some day it will pop up and be the song that I needed to hear right at that moment.

Since I was a kid, I loved the lyrics. I would buy an album (yes, an album!), put it on the record player and read along as the music played. I still do that to a degree, except now it is buying music, downloading it and then listening to it as I read along on the computer screen.

Music has always been with me, through dark times, lonely times, depressing times, it has always been a constant in my life. I am selfish about my music, maybe that is where the guilt lies. I have tried to share music with other people and they just don’t listen to it and understand it the way that I want them to, not saying that the way I listen and understand is necessarily the right way or only way to listen to it, but it is a very personal experience. I gave up a while ago trying to get people to understand what I get out of music, if that makes sense.

I heard an expression yesterday that can apply here, “Expectations are just premeditated resentments.” I used to expect people to get out of a song the same thing that I did and when they didn’t, well…..I can see how selfish that really was, but it is what I felt. I try to share music today with people just by playing a song for them and…oh who am I kidding, it still bugs me. I’ll keep working on that one.

By the way, I do not listen to rap music, just do not like it. Country music is also not what I listen to. Rock music is it for me and that is more than enough. As I am typing this I am listening to the new Nickelback album…er….CD….er…download and enjoying it. I don’t listen to music just because other people like it and I try my best not to judge people for listening to something that I don’t like.

Anyway, that is my spiel on music, and I will leave you with a song that jumped out at me from the first time I heard it more than fifteen years ago. It is called The Hourglass by the band Savatage. It is just one of those songs that I can get a vivid picture in my mind which became even clearer when I read the liner notes that accompanied the CD (below). Hope you give it a listen and enjoy, and if you don’t, that would be OK too…..kind of J.

Side note about Savatage, they are now all members of Trans-Siberian Orchestra and if you ever get a chance to see them live, do not pass it up. You will not be disappointed

 


The Wake Of Magellan (1997/1998)

Info

  The wake of Magellan is based on two real life events. The first occurred less than a year before this album was released when the captain of a freighter threw three Romanian stowaways overboard in the middle of the Atlantic. A fourth stowaway was saved by the courageous action of a deckhand, who risked his own life to protect the youth. (news article)

The second event regarded the Irish reporter Veronica Guerin who died fighting the growth of the drug trade in her country. Her death may accomplish what she could not in life. (news article)

These events are combined into the story of an old Spanish sailor, who has decided to end his life by sailing his small boat out into the Atlantic until it sinks. In his mind he has romanticized this decision as a glorious, Vikingesque way to die. When the ocean winds push him into a great storm, and he believes that his wish is about to be granted in a great dramatic fashion, he suddenly sees a man drowning in the ocean. In an instant he finds himself taking back every wish for death’s embrace, and fights to save this soul. After many twists and turns, he is able to save the stowaway that had been thrown overboard. Returning to land, he now realizes that not only every life is precious but also every hour of that life.

 

Mark


Best Laid Plans….

He had been looking forward to this day off for a very long time. This day was going to be all about him for a change

He had made his list

  1. Get up early and go fishing
  2. Breakfast at Hazel’s diner
  3. Tend to his garden
  4. Start reading the new David Baldacci book that just came out
  5. Meet his brother for dinner and then catch the game down at All-Stars

Work had been rough lately, what with the big merger and all. He had finally gotten things to where he could spend a day away from the office. It had been over three months since he had a day all to himself, his wife had gone out of town to visit her parents, the kids were old enough to take care of themselves, this was going to be his day.

His alarm went off at 4:30 AM, he had gotten all of his fishing gear ready the night before so all he had to do was splash some water on his face and go. He was surprised to hear someone moving around downstairs. From the top of the stairs he could see that the kitchen light was on and someone was, not so quietly, moving around in the kitchen. He wondered why either of the kids would be up this early, and went down to investigate

“David?”

“Hi Dad.”

“What are you doing up so early?” he asked as his son was searching through the cereal boxes in the pantry

“Coach was able to get the ice for us this morning so that we can get an extra practice in before the tournament this weekend. Figured I better eat something before I go, sorry if I woke you.”

He loved watching his son play hockey. He thought back to all those early morning practices and late night games that he had gone to over the years. That is one thing about youth hockey, ice time is limited so when you get the chance to play, you took it, no matter what time it was.

“How are you getting to the rink?”

“Well, was planning on walking since I couldn’t convince Julie to get up and drive me.”

“You want me to drive you?” he asked his son.

“Thought you were going fishing this morning. That’s what Mom told us.” David replied

“Ehhh. . . that’s OK, I can go fishing another time. I miss watching you out on the ice” he said as he grabbed his keys

“Thanks Dad! Really didn’t want to have to carry my bag all that way. You sure you don’t mind?”

“Not at all.”

He sat in the cold, aluminum bleachers and watched a 2 hour hockey practice, reminiscing about the past 10 years of being a hockey Dad, talking to some of the other parents while drinking a large cup of hot chocolate. After practice he waited for over 30 minutes in the parking lot for his son to come out, checking his watch every so often. He missed out on fishing, but he can still do the rest of the things on his list. David came out of the side door with several of his teammates, laughing and carrying on like teenage boys do. Hard to believe that the kid was going to be 16 in a couple months. Where does the time go he thought as the young man threw his bag in the back of the SUV?

It was still only 8:30, he could get David home and still make it to Hazel’s by 9:15, they serve breakfast until 10:30 anyway, missing out on fishing was not going to ruin his day. He helped David get all of his gear into the house, had just turned around to head back to the car when his daughter Julie called to him from the kitchen

“Good morning Daddy! You want me to make you some eggs?”

“Julie? Is that you?” he kidded.

“Very funny. Come on, I need to practice for my stupid Home Ec class exam this week. We have to make breakfast. Please….”

How could he say no? Even though all he could think about were Hazel’s delicious biscuits and pepper gravy with a side of homemade sausage links, he sat down at the table. Julie brought him a plate consisting of very runny scrambled eggs, 2 very small pieces of bacon, and a piece of toast that was the color of charcoal.

“Sorry Dad, guess I need some more practice”

Julie sat at the table and stared at her dad as he forced the food down his throat, going through three glasses of orange juice and a glass of water just to keep it down. He smiled at her trying not to show his true feelings about her current cooking abilities.

“That bad, huh?” she asked

“No…..not, umm… too….” he coughed as the burnt toast crumbs stuck to the back of his throat, reached for the orange juice carton and took a huge drink. He set it down and looked at his beautiful daughter and they laughed uncontrollably. “Yeah, that was bad.”

They sat at the table for hours and talked, mostly about her and what she had been up to. Her current boyfriend, how school was going, the colleges that she wants to visit. He could not remember the last time that he was able to just sit and talk to Julie. They were usually both always too busy, but for some reason their schedules coincided perfectly this day. David even joined them for about an hour and the three of them talked and laughed and just enjoyed each other’s company.

He looked outside and saw that it had started raining, “So much for the garden.” He said out loud. So far his list was not coming to fruition.

“Hey, that new action movie is playing down at the theater” David spoke up, “You guys want to go?”

“Sure!” said Julie as she jumped up to go get ready. “What time does it start?”

“12:15 and 2:30” David read from his phone.

“Let’s do 2:30 so I can take a shower first” she proclaimed.

David got up and went to the living room and started playing his video games, he looked around the kitchen and realized that he had just been left with a mess to clean up. He did so, smiling inwardly thinking about his children, wondering how many more times they will actually have time to all be together again. He drove them to the movies, he paid of course. They ordered hot dogs, large popcorn and a huge bag of Twizzlers that they shared throughout the movie. He ate way too much, but felt great. All the way home the three of them talked about the movie and how unrealistic it really was

“No way can someone get shot twenty times and walk away.” David declared. They all laughed

Movie didn’t get out until after 5, and by the time they drove home and got in the house, it was almost 6. He called his brother about dinner, but before he could beg out of going, his brother told him that he would not be able to go because his kids were sick and he needed to stay home and help his wife take care of them. That was fine with him as after all that crap he ate at the movie, he did not feel like going out to dinner or to go to a bar and drink beer.

He sat down in the recliner and sat back, looking over at the end table to where he had put his book that had just come from Amazon yesterday, it was not there. He got up and searched the entire house for it with absolutely no luck. He went back to the recliner and thought about his list that he had made the day before, he was 0 for 5. He shook his head and let out a long breathe, leaning back in the chair he closed his eyes to rest for a moment.

His cell phone rang, and opening his eyes he saw that it was completely dark in the room. He turned on the lamp on the side table and picked up his phone. It was his wife, Dana.

“Hey!” she said sounding all chipper.

“Hi hon” he said groggily.

“You OK? Sounds like I woke you up or something?” Dana said.

“I guess I must have dozed off, what time is it?

“Around 11, I waited until Dad was done watching the game before I called, I figured you wouldn’t hear the phone at All-Stars”

“Didn’t go” he said. “In fact, I didn’t do anything on my list.”

“Really? But I thought you had it all planned out.”

“Yeah, me too.”

“I’m sorry baby” she tried to console him over the phone.

“Sorry? For what? It was the BEST day off ever!”


Maybe It’s Not Them

What is it that makes people think that if you don’t talk about something, it (or they) will go away?

Present company included. For the longest time, if something came up or someone close to me acted a certain way, then I would do everything in my power to look the other way and hope that it will sort itself out. And the funny part is that it did, or at least I thought it did.

If there was some situation that I needed to address at work or at home, just look the other way and act like I know what I am doing. For God’s sake don’t ask what is going on or try to get to the root of the problem. That would be too much like work. (Gasp!) Eventually something else will come along and that first situation will not be so important, or even better, the situation takes care of itself and then I can stand back, throw my hands in the air and act like I knew nothing about it and none of the ramifications would be my fault. That was my MO, my modus operandi, my method of operation.

Didn’t talk about family issues outside of the house, for fear that “someone find out.” Find out that we weren’t perfect? That we have issues just like every family in the world?

And now Facebook comes along and I am sure that a lot of people that grew up before the internet age (yes, there was life before the internet) are just rolling in their graves because everyone’s dirty laundry is being aired for the world to know about. I was recently warned to be careful about what I put on Facebook, because people might find out stuff about me that could be embarrassing.

eccentricEvery family has someone that is not “normal”. Maybe I am that person in my family. I have done some things in my life that I am not proud of, things that hurt my family and probably embarrassed them. It has gotten easier over the years to talk about some of them, but there are some that are just too taboo to even bring up. In fact there is a good chance that I am the only one that still thinks about them.

But one thing that I have learned very recently is that these things do not go away. They get buried inside and fester and wait, they are very patient. They build up resentments, either against another person or more often than not against myself. I had to do some very serious soul searching and get all of these issues written down on paper, and then talk to someone about them. There was no other way I was told, that if I wanted to start healing, then they had to come out.

Now I didn’t go off half-cocked and start telling everyone that would listen all of the sordid stories of my past, but I did find someone that I knew that I could trust and I told him everything. I talked about things that I had honestly planned on taking to the grave with me. It was a cleansing of sorts. It was amazing the amount of (self-inflicted) pressure that it took off of my shoulders, just being able to get it out, after almost 30 years of just trying to bury it.

What is my point? Just that we often condemn people for being different, for not being like us. That too often that person is just looking, crying out for someone to listen to them and to try to understand why they act like they do. We were just talking last night about a famous comedian who admitted that he often locks himself in his bedroom for days at a time when he is not performing. Robin Williams, one of the funniest men I have ever heard, committed suicide. They try to make us laugh, to feel good about ourselves, but who does that for them? I guess we figure that if we see someone acting a fool and cracking jokes, that he is happy. That might not be the case, at least it wasn’t in my situation. I always tried to put on a happy outer appearance so that people would not try to get inside, it just seemed easier that way.

empathy-quoteI am as guilty as anyone for shunning people for being outrageous or eccentric or just plain different. And I need to stop judging them and maybe, just maybe get to know them a little better, to understand why they are like they are. I know how it feels to think that you are being shunned, so you try to be something that you are not just to get acceptance, just to fit in. And for anyone that I ever did that to in the past, I apologize.

So for all the eccentric aunts and uncles, for all the “Cousin Its” out there that are shunned or cast aside because you are not like everyone else, keep being yourself. You might not be the one that needs to change!

Mark



The Good “Old” Days

Glory Days. . . .

Ah. . .those were the best days of my life!

Hey, you remember that time. . . . .?

It just don’t get better than that!

Umm. . .yeah it does!

Yes, it WILL

There is nothing that has happened to me in my life that I cannot improve upon (wedding day and birth of children excluded).

Why does everyone talk about the past as if it was the best time of their life? What about today? What about NOW?

Why can’t this be the best time of your life?

There is a saying that goes like this. “If I have one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow, then I am pissing all over today!”

Living in the past wondering what I could have or should have done differently had gotten me nowhere. The only thing that I can do about my past is to learn from it, and there are a LOT of lessons there, trust me!

Worrying about what is going to happen tomorrow, or next week, or next year just tends to leave me wondering about the past when all of my grandiose plans do not come true, mostly from my inability to start things or see things through to fruition.

It needs to start now. No more excuses!

Now here is the point where everyone rolls their eyes and I feel good about what I just wrote for about 15 minutes, and then life goes on.

I can’t keep doing that. I am pretty much out of options at this point if I do not get my sh!t together. I could have written about all of the bad things that have happened to me in my lifetime, and there have been many, most of which were self-inflicted, but that won’t mean much.

I could write about what is on my bucket list, which I kind of have up in one of those rusty old file cabinets in my head, but how is that going to help to talk about the good ol’ days?

For me, the good ol’ days need to be every day that I wake up and am able to get out of bed and live life. To be able to be thankful for all that I do have, not be regretful for all that I don’t have or never had.

The good ol’ days need to start every morning with me getting on my knees and thanking God that I have another chance, that I am alive for one more day.

The good ol’ days need to end every night with me getting on my knees and thanking God for that one day.

Falling LeavesThe good ol’ days need to be everything in between, and if I do everything in my power to live, to be a good person. To tell the people that I love, that I love them. To be there when someone who is struggling needs someone, just like all the people that were there for me when I was struggling. To look at the trees and the green grass and just know what a miracle it is that we all are living on this planet that can sustain life the way it does. To breathe in that cool crisp fall air as the leaves say good bye to the tree that they have been holding on to for months and fall to the ground, knowing that come spring there will be new leaves on the trees so that the circle of life can continue.

So yes, I do have stories about the good old days in my life that I wish to share, and they are happening right now.

So join me if you will on this new and ever changing journey that I like to call. . . . Life

life

 


The Key Is Willingness

I’ve been on a journey for a little over 8 months now. It has been a good journey, learning a lot about myself. Learning a lot about living life on life’s terms. Trying to make some positive changes in my life.

I have not kept it a secret that I am in recovery, hell it says so below in my “bio”. Some people wish that I did not speak so openly about it. I respect and understand their opinion, but they have to understand that this is what I am and talking and writing about it is part of what I need to do, so I am going to continue.

When I read the daily prompt this morning talking about a key, the very first thing that popped into my mind was that Willingness is the KEY to Recovery.

Willingness to try a new way of doing things, a new way of treating people, a new way of treating myself.

The next thing that popped into my brain was a song by one of my favorite bands Dream Theater, it is called “The Glass Prison”. It was written by Mike Portnoy about his path to recovery, or at least the first steps to it. I honestly do not expect anyone to listen to the entire song, as it is almost 14 minutes long (but it would be cool if you did), but I have put the lyrics below it. . . .so consider it like a poem.

The part of the song that I was reminded of was the third part:

III. REVELATION

Way off in the distance I saw a door
I tried to open
I tried forcing with all of my will but still
The door wouldn’t open

Unable to trust in my faith
I turned and walked away
I looked around, felt a chill in the air
Took my will and turned it over

The glass prison which once held me is gone
A long lost fortress
Armed only with liberty
And the key of my willingness

Fell down on my knees and prayed
“Thy will be done”
I turned around, saw a light shining through
The door was wide open

I still get a little teary eyed when I listen to this song or read the lyrics as it reminds me of how it used to be, and how it could be again if I do not do what I need to do to keep this disease, yes it is a disease, at bay. For those of you that are fortunate enough to have never had to deal with addiction or with someone that is in addiction, then please read the words to the song. I honestly think that this explains it much better than I ever could.

1. The Glass Prison

[music by Myung, Petrucci, Portnoy, Rudess]
[lyrics by Mike Portnoy]

[I. REFLECTION]

Cunning, Baffling, Powerful
Been beaten to a pulp
Vigorous, Irresistable
Sick and tired and laid low
Dominating, Invincible
Black-out, loss of control
Overwhelming, Unquenchable
I’m powerless, have to let go

I can’t escape it
It leaves me frail and worn
Can no longer take it
Senses tattered and torn

Hopeless surrender
Obsession’s got me beat
Losing the will to live
Admitting complete defeat

Fatal Descent
Spinning around
I’ve gone too far
To turn back round

Desperate attempt
Stop the progression
At any length
Lift this obsession

Crawling to my glass prison
A place where no one knows
My secret lonely world begins

So much safer here
A place where I can go
To forget about my daily sins

Life here in my glass prison
A place I once called home
Fall in nocturnal bliss again

Chasing a long lost friend
I no longer can control
Just waiting for this hopelessness to end

[II. RESTORATION]

Run – fast from the wreckage of the past
A shattered glass prison wall behind me
Fight – past walking through the ashes
A distant oasis before me

Cry – desperate crawling on my knees
Begging God to please stop the insanity
Help me – I’m trying to believe
Stop wallowing in my own self pity

“We’ve been waiting for you my friend
The writing’s been on the wall
All it takes is a little faith
You know you’re the same as us all”

Help me – I can’t break out this prison all alone
Save me – I’m drowning and I’m hopeless on my own
Heal me – I can’t restore my sanity alone

Enter the door
Desperate
Fighting no more
Help me restore
To my sanity
At this temple of hope

I need to learn
Teach me how
Sorrow to burn
Help me return
To humanity
I’ll be fearless and thorough
To enter this temple of hope

Believe
Transcend the pain
Living the life
Humility
Opened my eyes
This new odyssey
Of rigorous honesty

Serenity
I never knew
Soundness of mind
Helped me to find
Courage to change
All the things that I can

“We’ll help you perform this miracle
But you must set your past free
You dug the hole, but you can’t bury your sole
Open your mind and you’ll see”

Help me – I can’t break out this prison all alone
Save me – I’m drowning and I’m hopeless on my own
Heal me – I can’t restore my sanity alone

[III. REVELATION]

Way off in the distance I saw a door
I tried to open
I tried forcing with all of my will and still
The door wouldn’t open

Unable to trust in my faith
I turned and walked away
I looked around, felt a chill in the air
Took my will and turned it over

The glass prison which once held me is now gone
A long lost fortress
Armed only with liberty
And the key of my willingness

Fell down on my knees and prayed
“Thy will be done”
I turned around, saw a light shining through
The door was wide open


The Best Gift

Store bought gift?

Handmade gift?

Which is better?

For me there is one gift that far exceeds any other. It doesn’t come from a store and it cannot be created or hand made.

Nothing else even comes close to it.

For most of my life I always thought that I had to buy happiness, to buy love. That the most important thing was to always have money in my pocket and feel like a big shot by buying useless things for people that really didn’t care one way or another.

That the only way to be successful was to make as much money as possible and that the only way to succeed is to work, work, and work and then feel superior to others because I worked harder than them. The thing about that is that no matter how much money I made, it never seemed to be enough. And no matter how much I worked, it was never enough. I lost track of everything that should have been important to me. No, let me rephrase that.

I NEVER GAVE MYSELF A CHANCE TO LEARN WHAT SHOULD BE IMPORTANT TO ME.

I am writing this after spending the last 3 weeks working 12-14 hours a day, so does this make me a hypocrite? Maybe. . .

I am hoping that the difference this time is that I have had several months to learn about myself and to learn about the people around me that love me, because I am ME. Not for what I am, but for who I am.

I still need to work and it felt good to go to work every day and to get done what we set out to accomplished. Sure I was tired and sure I missed all the people that I have surrounded myself with at this point in my life, my support group or whatever you want to call it. But I think that might be the difference. In the past, I worked without thinking about anyone but myself. I worked and left others to take care of things like raising our kids. I missed out on so much and it is something that I can never get back.

I am writing this as a reminder to myself. That even though I do have to work, I cannot let it become “my everything” again. I have learned so much and been given so much over the past 8 months, given freely I might add, that I have to remember what got me to this point. It was not my doing. There was definitely Divine Intervention happening in my life, and there still is.

So that gift I was talking about earlier, the best gift ever?

To me, it is the gift of unconditional love that I receive every day from family and friends, and especially from my Higher Power, who I choose to call God.

Without it, I am nothing.

With it, I can be anything


Much Respect and Love

Mark

 



“No” Trick or Treat

“I’m out of candy, now scram!” Walter yelled at the boys

“What do you mean you’re out of candy, it’s only 7 o’clock!” said the tall boy in his basketball warm-ups and a plastic axe sticking out of his head. “Every year you run out and then start yelling at us. Getting kinda old ole’ man!”

“Deal with it, punk. Now beat it!”

“Why you yelling at us? Why’d you even open the door if you ain’t got candy? That’s what normal people around here do.” said axe boy to a chorus of ‘That’s right’ and ‘yeah’s’ from his cohorts.

“What you gonna do about it? You kids ain’t nothing but trouble any way. Go home to your mommies!” Walter proclaimed with an evil grin on his face.

“This is trick or treat ole man, no treats, guess that means tricks for you!”

Walter slammed the door as the boys walked away laughing, he watched through the little window on the door as the tall boy, the leader he guessed, got to the end of his walkway, turned around and stared back at the house. He then took his index and middle finger on his right hand, pointed them at his eyes, and then directly back at Walter and smiled. He then turned and ran after his friends as Walter could feel his blood boiling.

“What are you doing, dear?” asked Marie, Walter’s wife of 40 years.

“Them boys just threatened me! They are gonna do something to the house tonight, I can feel it. But I ain’t gonna let them, they’ll be in for it if they try anything. I’ll be ready for ’em”

“Which boys?” Marie asked “and why would they wanna get back at you? Are you giving out the candy like I asked you to?”

“We’re out! And it is that tall kid from next door, the one always out in his driveway bouncing that damn basketball at all hours of the night.” Walter responded.

“You mean Billy? He’s such a sweetheart. You know that he stops playing ball by 9 o’clock ever since you complained.” She then walked to the front door and saw her huge Tupperware bowl still overflowing with candy. “And why aren’t you giving out any candy? The bowl is still full”

“Them boys don’t deserve any, now leave me be”

Marie just shrugged her shoulders, shook her head and walked back into the kitchen. Walter stayed at the front door, just waiting for anything suspicious to happen. He’d watch the kids walk by the house, knowing that the neighbor kid was going to come back and do something to his house. Throw eggs or tomatoes at it, put toilet paper all over the trees or something. He just knew it. He had turned the lights out on the porch so not too many kids came to the door, most of them knew that Walter was especially grumpy on Halloween for some reason and didn’t want to feel his wrath over a miniature snickers bar.

So Walter stood at the door with the lights off, listening and watching. At one point he swore that he heard a ball bouncing next door and flung open the door and went to his driveway as fast as he could to try to catch that boy out there, but there was no one there. Walter stood in the cold, biting wind with no coat on, shivering while trying to figure out where those boys were, and what they were going to do. A young couple walked by with their daughter dressed in a little red devil costume. They waved at Walter, but he ignored them. He was looking for his suspects, the ones that were coming to get his house.

After ten minutes or so, Marie came to the front door which had been left open and called for him to come back inside. “At least come in and get a coat, you ole fool! I’m going to bed, are you coming?”

Walter just waved her off and made his way to the backyard, maybe that’s where they were going to come. Dogs were barking throughout the neighborhood, the wind was howling, trees and bushes were shaking and at every noise, Walter was sure that it was “those boys” coming to play a prank on him. “Ain’t no one gonna get me tonight!”

The night went on, Walter was in and out of the house, watching and waiting. He knew it was coming it was just a matter of when. And even worse, it was a Friday night so “them boys” didn’t have school tomorrow, they might attack late, real late. Walter was shivering now, even when he was in the house. That wind was a cold one, an early arctic blast as the weatherman on channel 13 said. But it didn’t matter, he was not going to give in, even if it meant getting sick, he was not going to let anyone threaten his home and get away with it.

He had pulled his chair over in front of the big bay window in the living room so that he could see the entire front yard, and it was positioned so that all he had to do was turn around to see the window in the dining room looking into the backyard. By now he had turned all of his outside lights on, he had it all covered. Suddenly there was a loud noise from inside the garage, sounded like one of his paint cans had been knocked to the ground. Walter got to his feet and made for the garage door, wondering how they might have gotten inside the garage without him hearing anything. He flung open the door, reached around and turned on the light.

“A-Ha” he yelled, then “Aahhh!” as the cat jumped off of the shelf next to the door and ran in through the house. “Damn cat!” He picked up the paint can that the cat had knocked off the shelf when he heard it. There was a loud banging against the aluminum siding on the side of the house.

“They are hitting my house on the side. Damn kids, I’ll show them that they better not mess with me.” Walter got to the front door as fast as he could, slammed it open, knocking all of Marie’s decorations off it, and made his way to the side of the house. “I got you now Billy!”

As Walter turned the corner, he slipped on something in the grass and went down hard. He laid there for a minute gathering himself back together. Didn’t feel like anything was hurt, he reached down to his slipper and felt something warm and squishy, bringing his fingers to his nose he stopped when he recognized the undeniable smell of dog poop.

“Dammit!” Walter yelled. “I bet they put that there on purpose!” The noise from the side of the house continued, were they throwing eggs at his house? What was that noise? He got himself up to his feet, his pants now soaked from the early morning frost as well as the streak of poop running up his leg, and limped to the side of the house where he saw the large oak tree, swaying in the wind, hitting against the siding with each strong gust.

Walter walked to the back yard and was checking behind every bush and shrub that he had to make sure that no kids were hiding. Getting his arms and faced scratched up as he went, he was surprised to notice that the first light of morning was showing in the eastern sky. He walked back to the front door, his pride swelling in his chest, knowing that he did not let “those boys” get the best of him tonight. “No one outsmarts ole Walter here” he thought as he reached the front door, which had been blown shut by one of the strong wind gusts. He reached for the door knob and tried to turn it, only to find that it was locked. Reaching in his pockets and realizing that he did not have his house keys, he started ringing the doorbell for Marie to come let him in.

After a few minutes, she arrived at the door and opened it.

“I did it. I beat them kids. I won, they did not get me!”

As Marie looked at her husband standing there with scratches all up and down his arms and face, shivering in the morning cold, pants wet and covered in dog crap, his hair windblown and sticking straight up out of his head, she said “Are you sure about that Walter?”

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN


Return From Crazy

It has been a while since I have been here, it seems like forever.

Been a little busy the last couple weeks, moving out of our house and into an apartment has pretty much taken up most of our time. You don’t realize how much “stuff” that can accumulate over a period of time, and then having to let go of some of said “stuff” can be difficult at best.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel and we are praying that it is not another train coming at us at 150 miles per hour. We just want to be able to get back into a routine. Starting a new job in about an hour and a half which is a GREAT thing since I have not worked since March.

God is working in my life today and I feel it more and more. I am back with my family again which is something that I wasn’t sure if it would ever happen again, but it has and I am so very grateful.

I miss my writing more than I ever thought I would, I need to get back to it and I WILL, just been taking care of some more pressing issues. Today’s prompt wants me to talk about the craziest, busiest, most hectic day I have had in a decade and I have had a few, but none of those days would really be worth talking about. They would center on my old job and that I let it run my life, and I choose to try not to do that anymore.

So I figured I would just send an update on where I have been and that I will be back. I’ve missed this, missed the comments that I get and give on blog posts, miss the little star at the top of the page telling me that someone out there actually liked what I had written. I missed getting caught up in words and thoughts and being able to get them down in black and white.

Funny moment during the move, my son picked up a box full of some of my books and proclaimed, “Geez, WORDS ARE HEAVY!”

They are even heavier when they are floating around in my brain and I am not getting them out!

Have a blessed day, glad to be back!


The Locker Room

I felt bad for the kid. He has a chance to walk through the clubhouse and meet all of us and skip calls a meeting for the coaches and Lonnett is walking the kid out. Man he looks disappointed, coach is apologizing to him, but what could he do?

“Hey coach!” I called across the locker room, “you want me to take the kid around and meet the guys?”

“You sure Rudes?” I nodded. Coach introduced the kid to me as his buddy’s nephew.

“What’s your name?” I asked the kid

“Mark” he responded in a quiet, terrified voice.

“Well I am Joe, nice to meet you, come on lets meet the other guys.”

The kid’s eyes were as wide as saucers, just soaking in everything. He knew every guy’s name before I even introduced him to them. The guys love when we get to meet kids like this, quiet, polite and looking at us as if we are something special. Never considered myself anything more than a grown man playing a kid’s game and getting paid to do it. All the guys went out of their way to make the kid’s visit special, one of them, I think it was Tovar, had a program in his locker that had all of our pictures in it. He gave it to Mark and told him to get everyone’s autograph before he left.

Garner was the only one I steered clear of, the idiot never gets dressed until right before we take the field and was walking around butt naked. Not sure if the kid saw him or not, but I did my best to steer him away. Went into the trainer’s room and Tovar, Cesar Tovar who is one of the nicest guys around, was getting treatment on his back. He wanted to see how the autograph book was coming along. I motioned to him that I had to get the kid out of there, and he waved me off and proceeded to find every guy that had not signed the book yet, and got them to do so.

Then I saw Billy North found a couple of bats that got cracked during batting practice and gave them to him, one of them was a Reggie Jackson bat apparently. We found a bag and filled it with balls and whatever else we could give him and sent him back out to his waiting uncle

That was quite a day for that little guy, I just hope he enjoyed it.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

This is a true story and yes, I enjoyed it and 40 years later can remember it like it was yesterday. It was a game between the Oakland A’s and the Chicago White Sox at old Comiskey Park, my uncle asked me if I wanted to go with him to the game and then after we were going to have dinner with Joe Lonnett, who was one of the coaches for the A’s. We were sitting in our seats and saw Mr Lonnett waving us down to the dugout. When we got down there he asked if I wanted to come see the clubhouse before the game started.

We ran to the clubhouse entrance and Joe Lonnett was standing in the door waiting for us. As soon as we walked inside, Chuck Tanner, the manager of the A’s called a meeting for all the coaches. Joe apologized profusely but told me that he had to go and would not be able to show me around, I was very disappointed but there was nothing I could do. That is when Joe Rudi, the A’s starting left fielder when they won the World Series in ’72, ’73 and ’74 came over and offered to take me around. Mr Lonnett asked me if I wanted to go with Rudi and I emphatically said yes.

Joe Rudi and Cesar Tovar made a lifetime impression on a 11 year old die hard baseball fan. We read so many negatives about today’s high priced athletes, but I refuse to believe that all athletes are like that. All I know is that the kindness of two men that day in 1976 will forever be remembered and I hope that there are other stories out there similar to this.

I posted a couple of videos below, one of them of Joe Rudi making a great catch in the 1972 World Series and the other a biography of Cesar Tovar. Unfortunately both Cesar Tovar and Joe Lonnett have passed on, but Joe Rudi is still around and on the very outside chance that he ever reads this, I just wanted to say thank you for a great, cherished, once in a lifetime memory.


Perspective of Inequality

in·e·qual·i·ty
ˌinəˈkwälədē/
noun
noun: inequality; plural noun: inequalities
  1. difference in size, degree, circumstances, etc.; lack of equality.
    Based on the definition of equality above, wouldn’t everyone feel inequality? And wouldn’t that be a good thing?
    I mean, why would we all want to live the exact same lives as anyone else? Why would we want to be held to the same standards as anyone else? And why would we want to be held to anyone else’s standards, except maybe God’s?!
    Of course this is simplifying things a whole lot, or is it? Yes, I do understand that there are people that live in circumstances not of their making and they have no way out of them. But there are also people that put themselves into situations even though they do have the ability to get themselves out of them, and those are the people that seem to complain the loudest.
    We all feel inequality at some point. Be it socially, emotionally or physically. The problem, in my opinion, is when we feel this inequality and, rather than trying to make a change in OURSELVES, we complain about what the other person has or is. We cannot change other people, no matter how hard we try.
    Trying to get others to change to make me feel better is not working, so it is up to me to change.
    Anyone else in?