I filmed this one minute, vintage silent movie of my dog, with my I pod camera in 1920–that was 93 years ago when my dog was a pup. That now makes him 651 in dog years.
Cindy my wife, a risk-taker, filmed hand-feeding a terrifying border collie cooked bacon, while trying not to have her fingers bitten off.
Books are not so different than people are. Both come in many different genres, they see things from different points of view, and they speak in unique voices.
Unfortunately, it is easier for me to judge them by their covers, as they wait patiently on a shelf. If I am not careful, I will walk past a great one and never open it–because I am busy, impatient, and thoughtless.
But when I do take the time to look, I find each one has an exclusive set of contemplations: observations, interpretations, and insights about life.
I do not agree with all of them. Some do not share my curiosities. Some I do not understand. Some irritate me for no good reason. Some of them just plain make me mad.
Still, every time I open a new book or talk to a new person, I learn something about life that I did not know before, and that makes my whole view of the world a little bit wider.
- Happy Birthday to The Hobbit! (hcplteenscene.org)
- People alike. (thoughtofanindividual.wordpress.com)
- Big Reading: A Hike Through Dickens : The New Yorker (themodernmanuscript.wordpress.com)
She is the web of green vines, which came to me one day. New life blossoming with perfumed jasmine flowers, as they climbed up my melancholy brick wall of loneliness towards the sky.
Her living roots lovingly adhered to me, devotedly—her climbers adorned my crumbling bricks in an enormous impressionistic painting of burgeoning blossoms and soft petals in splotches of vibrant blue.
Her soft fragrant essence kissed the warm breeze, which caressed my time-hardened surface, and the setting sun reached down with fingers of golden mist, which shone warm on the two of us. She is a part of me now, the beautiful part, and I am no longer alone.
I love you Cynthia Ann.
Reach up High,
Got a hand full of napalm,
Throw it high
The sky is on fire, the moon is in flames, and the stars are crying like a child.
That girl said she loved me. But she bruised my life.
When she left me, her words were like broken glass; they cut me deep.
She left me with a bleeding soul.
“Look at her.” Azure eyes–goddess-like, with luminous golden curls, and slender legs.”
There she goes; she is rambling on.
I am the one who has got no soul.
I live in the United States of Jesus Christ
A baby cries and an old man dies. Time goes on. Life goes on.
Pray for the baby, pray for the soul of that old man.
May they not end up writhing in hellfire.
“Look, you do not talk about bad feelings in this family; we swallow it all down into a tiny, painful ball that lies in the pit of our stomachs. The ball just festers and eats at us.
[One day, in a rage, it will crawl up her throat and scream its existence to the world.]
Holiday Family Dinner Day
God damn it, do we have to do this?
Uncle Roy is drunk and pissed his pants.
“Shut up! We don’t talk about bad feelings, we swallow it all down.”
Get on an airplane and fly away from home and all the problems.
Land where no one tells your secrets
The City of Sin
Dreams of Lust and Power
Credit Card, Credit Card
Sex, Sex, Sex
Rolling dice, games of chance.
“Just keep them in the casino playing. Statistics will ruin them.”
“Dance with the Devil and the Devil gets into you.”
Cigarettes, Alcohol, and drugs.
Delusions of Grandeur.
Dopamine and Serotonin receptors.
He’s fucking high.
The Wife, he must remember the wife.
Get on the plane broke with secrets
Fight, Fight, Fight
“Leave me alone!”
“Quiet! The kids– in the next room.”
TV, TV, TV
Don’t talk, we don’t talk about feelings.
TV TV TV
The man and wife in bed.
Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
Another God damned morning,
Fight, Fight, Fight
“You do not even seem like the same person anymore!”
“I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.”
You always do that,”
“You never do that.
Secrets, Secrets, Secrets.
This is it.
“I don’t love you anymore. I need to be on my own.”
“What are you talking about?”
We don’t talk about bad feelings, we swallow it all down.”
“Go to Hell.”
We don’t talk about feelings.
Make up for now
There are other fish in the sea.
The other woman will always be there when you need a little sympathy.
Secrets, Sex, Secrets, Sex.
New year’s Resolution,
Don’t see her again.
TV, TV, TV
To Hell with Exercise.
The other woman
Secret Sex, Sex, Secrets.
I can handle just one drink, then I will stop.
Alcohol, Alcohol, Alcohol
Spend the night in jail
I will have just one cigarette.
Sex, Sex, Sex.
I will have just one cigarette.
I am going to tell her it is over.
cigarette, cigarette, cigarette.
Sex, Sex, Sex
Back to Marriage Combat
Fight Fight Fight.
Credit Card, Credit Card
Sex, Sex, Sex
Shop, Shop, Shop
“I’ll just have one cigarette and quit.”
“The years go by and people we love die.”
We are getting older.
We are going to die next.
We will be in the box, six feet under dirt.
There we will rot and slugs shall crawl in our eyeless skulls
I’ll have just one cigarette and quit smoking.
I never could quit smoking
I saw the doctor and the specialist for test.
Lung Cancer; they told me I was going to die.
They said it just like that, like they were telling you what they had for lunch that day. They must see a lot of people die.
I figure that I am going to die soon if what they said was right.
And yesterday is when I just decided, “Fuck it,” I am going to live my life anyway.
All you can do in life is your best, you can’t do anymore.
It was a cold November day, and as I lay in bed awakening, I saw the newborn sun’s illumination flare up behind the layer of condensation on the bedroom windowpanes.
My ancestors had repainted those wooden, square borders that hold the glass, painting them again and again over the years. The wood had an accretion of paint layers, almost geological, and sedimentary, in sheets of white weather coatings. After many years, the layers of white paint flaked, and cracked into many fine lines and fissures.
The bedroom window I looked at was an old window, in an old house, a house of four generations, which in time became home.
The sun’s light, filtered by the fog on the window, shone diffusely into our bedroom as a gold, radiant mist. It filled the bedroom, as if gilded dust hung about everywhere in the air.
Turning my head on the pillow, I saw her sleeping next to me. The soft radiance revealed the graceful, contours of my wife’s face. Hers was a statuesque, symmetrical, bone structure, resulting in feminine loveliness.
The condensation on the windowpanes, attested to our warm life breaths, pulling in and out of sleeping lungs during the night. The layer of moisture clung to the glass as a memory. It held the traces of her whispers in bed, whispers which I had felt against the nape of my neck the night before. I vaguely recalled that softly spoken, “I love you,” fading away, as my conscious awareness sank, into the oblivion of sleep, as if I were slipping beneath the surface of quicksand.
Coming out of my recollection, I yawned. I rubbed my eyes, sat up, and leaned my bare back against the vertical bars, at the head of the antique brass bedframe.
Over many years, the dry country air discolored the brass bedframe’s slats, bars, and darkened the round brass knobs atop the bedposts. As a child, I loved to turn these brass knobs with my small hands, as the circular orbs squeaked and vibrated when rotated.
The antique bedframe now showed in gradations, a spectrum of tarnished brass in the colors from shiny to the darkest bronze.
Reaching back for more than a century and a half, that bed frame had been the marital bed of the previous three generations of my family. Each generation of my ancestors married, and as a couple, they slept each night in the brass bed, and they grew old together slumbering on their Sears and Roebuck feather mattresses.
In their golden years, I contemplated what their old minds dreamed about, and how each of them lived, acting out scenes, in the realm of their imaginings. I wondered if for a night, they were young once again. As I imagined them dreaming, I could picture white diamonds pulsing, scattered across the vast, black, velvet expanse of the heavens, hanging so high above the tin roof of this humble house.
I suddenly emerged from within the depths of my mind, and became again aware of myself sitting up in the Family Bed, leaning back against the cold brass bars of the headboard. Having laid my bare back against the brass bars for too long, I was deeply chilled. I shivered in the cold bite of the bedroom air, frigid inside the unheated house.
As I pulled the old patchwork quilt, that my grandmother had sewn by hand, from atop the bed, I pulled it gently, so as not to wake her. Yet I also pulled it all the way to me, so as to bundle it and wrap it about me. I removed the patchwork quilt, from the pile of the many others that warmed she and I during the cold nights of the winter.
I wrapped the warm cloth heirloom around my bare neck, my shoulders, and my back. Then I pulled it around in front of me, grasping both ends of the quilt in one hand, holding it at my neck.
I was careful not to wake her as I lowered my legs off the bed, and let my bare feet touch the cold wooden floor. I stood up to get the blood moving in my legs, and in seconds, the chill of the floor drained all of the heat from my feet. My feet throbbed, burning painfully with the coldness. I walked away from the bed quietly, and I headed in curiosity towards the window to look at the translucent condensation on the windowpanes.
At first glance, the moisture on the inside of the pane, looked just like frosted glass, but as I inspected the foggy film more closely, I saw that the condensation was actually thousands of microscopic beads of water, each clinging tenuously to the surface of the windowpane.
In wonder, I touched the layer of moisture. The glass was cold and it chilled my finger. The moisture of our exhaled breaths wet my finger as I swiped it across the glass. My finger made a clear streak in the condensation on the pane, and small drops of water ran down from its edges. I quickly exhaled on it, and the clear streak filled halfback with the fog of the moisture of my breath’s humidity.
I turned and looked back to the bed, and I saw my wife sleeping. I cherished her with my eyes. She was beautiful as her skin basked in the morning light. Her naked shoulder lay exposed above the blanket, supple, and ivory white. She was young and innocent, shapely and nubile. In awe of her, my breath hung heavy in my lungs, and for a moment, I could not breathe.
The night before, when we went to bed, her long, chestnut hair had lay splayed out, in voluptuous disarray, across her pillow. While nuzzling at the soft, white, nape of her neck, I had pressed my nose into the silky morass of her dark hair. I inhaled the fusion of many delicate, intermingling fragrances. I remembered the all-consuming, sensual nature of the smell of her hair.
Deeply woven into her reddish brown waves were traces of the farmland. Her long lustrous hair bore the earthen, musty smell of freshly turned over sod in the plowed fields. Also was the scent of that distinct breeze, which always arrives as a fragrant announcement, just moments before a summer rain shower in the country. This was a fragrant breeze that undeniably smells like safety and home. It is the smell of a blessing.
My nose detected numerous, feminine, anointing oils in her hair, and of her flesh; the oils were a musky fusion that composed her unique, primal smell. No other woman alive exuded the same fragrance. My body knew the smell of her instinctually. And when I smelled her scent, I knew she was my mate.
Her scent whispered to my sense of smell, beckoning my body unto hers. It was an intoxicating bidding of her pheromones in the innocent concupiscence of our love.
Her hair bore the scented memories from the previous evening. Woven deeply within her long silken curls, was the smell of perspiration from our naked, entwined, exhausted bodies. There was the brackish biting smell of the ocean’s waves, whitecaps that surged, swelling, and rushing inland towards the untouched volcanic rocks. The waves struck the black, jagged, pillars with a fury, throwing expansive white froth, in wide fan-like dispersals and a fine mist of briny droplets.
We made amatory thunder in the night, as our bodies lunged and hove in the brass bed, moving inside of each other. It seemed that the earth moved beneath us. And for one sacred moment, the boundaries that separated us dissolved, and our two souls fused, and we both inhaled, and sighed, in one shared breath of ecstasy.
As we slept, she was soft legs, which were warm against my hamstrings on a cold winter night. She had a perfect curve the neck, the graceful arc of a warm breast, the curving relief of a smooth hip, and a white delicate shoulder that I woke up to in the night, a bare shoulder that I loved to pull the hand-made patchwork quilt back over.
She was wide, sleepy, coffee brown eyes—eyes that compelled my deepest trust by never asking for it. Her eyes showed no sign of judgment nor embarrassment, of she nor I, nor our naked bodies. Her eyes showed only a loving acceptance, for my body, my strengths, my insecurities, and my foibles.
Hers were eyes that willingly unveiled the window into her soul and revealed everything about her to me, and in doing so belied absolutely nothing that I could not accept and love, and nothing that I could not forgive and forget.
Her dark eyes staring deeply into mine made me stronger, and somehow they made me more of a man. Her eyes loved me with their softness, and they humbled me with their profound tenderness. Her eyes brought me to my knees.
When I looked deep into her eyes, I saw her innocence, her virtue, and a deep love and gratitude for everything in her life. I revered these eyes, and looking into them made me want to be a better man.
At times when thunderclouds rained down angry and struck hard on our tin roof, her eyes looked into mine showing fright. When those eyes looked into mine, the worry melted away. I realized that I had soothed her, and she was no longer afraid. Then she wrapped one arm over my chest and the other underneath my neck and she pulled her body close into mine.
And when I understood what she felt emotionally, that she believed that I had the power to protect her, and give her succor, it melted away all my inhibitions. And I cried, and I was not ashamed. She whispered tender admiration into my ear; she kissed my neck in nurturing love, and laid her cheek on my chest, then she rapidly fell into a deep, safe, sleep.
Hers were the only eyes that I would walk to the end of the earth, simply to gaze into, as they told me that she truly loved me, and that she would stay with me for the rest of our lives.
They were the eyes that I wanted to grow old with over the years. And such eyes could never lose their resplendent love and acceptance with the passing of decades.
And I was not concerned about aging. Because I knew that when I was an old man, and looked into her eyes, I would always be young.
The Simple Pleasures in Life are the things that make Life Good.
During the 1960’s, in the scorching Texas summers, I got to vacation for one month at my favorite place on earth, at Grandpa and Grandma Hill’s house in Blanco County. They lived in a humble, wonderful house. A house with uneven poured concrete floors, hard asbestos wall shingles, a steep corrugated tin roof, and a large tined TV antenna perched on top.
Then was the glory of my fleeting youth. I was a toe headed, barefoot kid, and growing like a weed. Every day in the late mornings, Grandpa and I would pile into his old white pickup truck. We drove from the house, truck squeaking, and rolling down the big hill, headed towards the Blanco River, which gouges out its path straight through the middle of the Blanco State Park.
As we rode down the town hill with the windows rolled down, the wind stirred up odors inside the cab of the pickup truck. I remember smelling the acrid scent of the hot, cracked, vinyl seat. I remember the smell of the churning cloud of Grandpa’s burning, cigarette smoke. The roasted, sweet-smelling, tobacco lightly bit at my nostrils. I can remember the smell of butane gas, which actually fueled the truck. The most pleasant smell of all was the scent of the sweat and musk of Grandpa’s wrinkled, elephantine skin. It smelled like happiness and safety.
Inside the Blanco Park, Grandpa let me swim in the calm, glass-like, water above the dam and small waterfall. The water was a cool, green-blue.
As I swam, I sipped water from the river. I can remember the taste of the Blanco River. It tasted of earthen clay and the sweet moss below the banks.
The river water had a smell, much like the wind, which arrives just before a hard, summer, rain shower in the rolling hills of Kendalia; the same breeze which brings in the aroma of turned over earth, as heavy raindrops pelt the fertile sod, in the freshly plowed fields.
The section of the Blanco River, above the State Park, flows down from the mountains in the high country. As the river courses downwards, other natural water sources nourish the river along the way.
The occasional, heavy rainstorms in the foothills shed a torrent of excess water. The watershed rushes downhill, in narrow, jagged creeks, carved into the limestone. The rainwater crashes white against the jagged, fallen rocks, which line the creek beds; always finding its way back to the womb of the Blanco River
As the river runs down from the hills, there are also dozens of clear natural springs along the way. Their pure water babbles cold, rising out of narrow cracks in the bedrock that lies atop the water table. These crystalline springs collect in clear pools, and they seep through the soil, and move down into the Blanco River.
The riverbanks upriver leading into the high lands are ancient. And over the centuries, the stirring undercurrents of the Blanco River rolled, pushed along, and slowly shaped pieces of limestone broken away from the rock-hard riverbed.
The erosion by water left countless, rounded, stones of all sizes along the banks. When the river is low, these white rocks lay in visible piles along the Blanco River, like a graveyard of dinosaur bones.
For an era, the sun slowly bleached the smooth stones white. And whenever the summer sun shone upon them, they always held the baking heat within them, coveting it for hours after the sunset.
When Grandpa and I drove to Blanco State Park, I could not wait to get out of the truck and swim in the river. Grandpa watched me while I swam until I got tired. Then he would tell me to come out of the water. He always let me go play down below the park dam. I stood underneath the cool, rolling waterfall, feeling the water beat down upon my body as a heavy, pounding, clear sheet of liquid.
A waterfall slapping against my body, felt a lot like the times when I held my hand out of a speeding car window, and opened my palm to drag against a 60 mph airstream. I would hold my hand out into the wind until my hand got red, puffy, throbbed, and tingled,
These two forceful currents, the wind on my hand and the waterfall, pushed much more powerfully against me than I ever imagined they would.
When standing in the pummeling waterfall began to hurt my body, I would walk right through the rolling mass of water, and go stand inside a small pocket of humid, but breathable air inside. I discovered this magical space one summer surreptitiously. It existed in stillness, between the rolling plane of water falling behind my back, and the slick, green moss on the concrete dam in front of my face.
There is enough room inside to turn around and look the other way. That is, to stare through the translucent, rolling plane of the waterfall, and look outside into the light. I could not see things clearly through the waterfall, but I could make out certain objects. I saw blurred shapes and I could know things by their distorted shapes.
I could identify the diffuse, contours of blurred, green, pastel forms as being trees in the park. I knew that the bright, white, slowly wandering circles I saw were swimming ducks down river from the dam. And I could see the silhouettes of peripatetic, clay-like, oval shadows, which I knew, were people walking along the rocky shores of the river. Inside the magic pocket, looking out, the world I saw was much like seeing it looking through a clear plastic of Tupperware dish.
I always yelled my name inside the pocket of air. I would hear my voice echo, bouncing off the rolling sheet of the waterfall, and the moss covered concrete wall of the dam. The falling water chopped the sound of the echo into a vibrating hum, like when one talks into the rushing air against the metal blades of an old fan.
At noon grandpa told me it was time to get out of the water. When I got out, I walked up, and across the rocky bank. As I did, I felt the warm, rounded rocks on the bank pressing into the souls of my bare feet. I also felt the smaller, rounded rocks slightly turn underneath me, as I carefully walked across them. When I made my way up to the grassy flat of the park, Grandpa gave me a towel to dry off with, and then he made me wear it around my neck and shoulders so I would not get sunburned. When I was dry, we got back into Grandpa’s old truck and chugged up the hill, heading back home.
Grandma always made us an enormous lunch. She made a delicious, aromatic spread, filling the speckled red and white Formica top of the small kitchen table, with at least a dozen dishes of different foods.
Grandma had an old, black, iron skillet and a gas stove. The kitchen was unbearably hot and filled with the smell of onions, butter, baked bread, sweet corn milk, and aromatic green vegetables cooked with bacon.
Grandma always made my favorite dish; a skillet of brown, crispy, fried okra, with onions, and crunchy potato bits, which all tasted of bacon grease, left over from the morning breakfast. She cooked a variety of freshly picked, organic vegetables right out of the garden.
We had boiled yellow squash cut into circles, with their white tender seeds. We had Swiss chard, boiled with bits of bacon. We ate fresh boiled ears of corn, rolled in rich creamy butter, and sprinkled lightly with salt. I got corn stuck in between my teeth and I did not care.
We nibbled at beefy, red tomato slices. The tomatoes were chilled, and seconds before we ate a round slice, with its sharp, sweet, crimson pulp and green seeds, we sprinkled the chilled slice lightly with salt.
We had large, airy slices of sweet smelling homemade bread. Grandma put the slices of bread in the gas oven and broiled them until the tops were a crunchy, toasted, brown, with butter drizzling on the tops.
And we always had a huge steaming plate full of savory ground hamburger and green onions.
Grandma always made sure that I drank whole milk for my bones, and after lunch she went to the freezer, scooped me a round, white ball of creamy vanilla ice cream, and she put it atop one of those sweet, baked, crunchy ice cream cones I that I loved to chew so much.
Grandma never, ever let me go hungry.
After I digested lunch, I spent the afternoons outside running bonkers around the house. I felt the sun burning on the back of my neck and shoulders. As I ran barefoot, I felt the cool, green blades of carpet grass caress my feet and rustle in between my toes.
As I ran round the back of the house, I passed by the freshly tilled garden, which smelled of dark, fertile soil, sweet cow manure, sharp tomato plant stalks, and the sweet, creamy, silken threads, sprouting atop the ears of corn on the stalk.
It was too hot for me to stay outside very long in the sweltering, August Sun. My Grandma always let me play, but she worried herself sick that I would get heatstroke. She would bring me a mason jar of ice water every 30 minutes, and would not leave until she watched me drink it.
When I came in blistered and miserable at the end of the day, Grandma cut pieces from her Aloe Vera plant, squeezed the soothing gelatinous pulp out, and then rubbed it all over me.
I vividly remember those dry, penetrating, summer heat in Blanco. The heat got unbearable at times. The punishing sun in the Hill Country was larger-than-life, as it rose up its curving path in the sky to its highest point. Once there, the sun just seemed to stop, and purposely hang above the entire earth, blazing furiously, in a cloudless, pale blue sky.
The summer Sun was cruel. It had no pity for the farmers, their crops, the livestock, our Blanco River, or the townsfolk. The August sun shone on me and it stung. It was a dry, baking heat, the kind of heat that bleaches cow skulls white out in back fields of ranchers.
The sun shone and scorched the rich plowed soil in Grandma’s garden. The soil was so blistering, that I could not stand barefoot in the garden long enough to pick the red, plump tomatoes for our supper. The soles of my feet throbbed and burned as I hopped in the loose soil, from one foot to the other.
No one in Blanco had central air conditioning back then. So about 3 p.m., when it was the hottest, the whole town of Blanco rather stopped, and people rested in the shade until it was cool enough to work out in the sun again.
At this hottest part of the day, Grandpa, Grandma, and I all sat outside underneath the massive leafy canopy of an enormous Box Elder shade tree.
We sat underneath the leafy giant in red, shellback, metal lawn chairs. We simply rocked rhythmically, passing the time lazily, languishing in the slow-dancing shadows that swathed us.
Grandpa sometimes took the water hose and sprayed water on the tree’s leaves to make the shade cooler. Occasionally, when a breeze came, for just a few seconds, it felt like early fall in that moist shade.
Grandpa build a round, white table underneath the shade tree by welding a metal pipe to the hub of an old, horse drawn, wagon wheel. The spoked iron wheel sat flat atop the pole. Grandpa cut a round piece of thick plywood to lie on top of the iron wheel, and he coated the wooden surface with white, waterproof paint.
We ate cold, striped watermelon right out of the icebox on that table. Grandpa took a long, shiny knife and cut the watermelon into large, wedged, pieces on the tabletop. We all ate the watermelon, with a saltshaker on the table.
I gnawed into my large wedge of cold melon, until I buried my face in the spongy, red pulp. Sweet, sticky juice ran down the sides of my cheeks, and dribbled down my neck. As I ate the watermelon, I would spit the seeds out in the grass as far as I could. Grandpa eyeballed the distance I spit the seeds. He estimated that I could spit an oval seed up to 8 feet through the air before it hit the ground.
When we finished eating the cold slices of melon, Grandpa threw the white rhines into the fallow edge of the garden to fertilize the soil. The tabletop was sticky with the read juice of watermelon pulp afterwards, so Grandpa got the hose and washed off the round table. The flow of clear water pooled on the waterproof paint, it lifted the black oval watermelon seeds on the round white circle, and they coasted across the tabletop, falling off into the carpet grass.
The heat dried the round table in a short amount of time, and when it was dry, we played dominoes. Laying all of the dominoes face down on the table, we shuffled the boneyard, and the dominoes clacked in a rapid tempo, like popping corn snapping. When Grandpa beat us ruthlessly at dominoes, we put all the dominoes back in their cardboard box. Then we just rested in the shade listening to the leaves of the shade tree softly rustle in the breeze.
About that time, Grandma Vera went to the kitchen and boiled a pot of water. When it cooled a bit she steeped loose, tealeaves in it, stirred in half a cup of white sugar, and allowed it to cool. She poured the tea into a gallon glass pitcher. Grandma brought this pitcher to the round table and poured the ice tea into Mason jars, which she had filled with jagged-edged, ice-picked, shards of frozen ice. Grandma always topped off her ice tea with a few fresh, mint leaves from her garden.
Grandma was the greatest. She died one day of a stroke, about a decade before Grandpa died. It seems like two hundred years since I hugged Grandma. But I can still hear her laugh, and recall the little things that she always did to make my life wonderful.
Things like making me a hot, store-bought, pizza in the summertime, and letting me eat it, as I watched the black and white television set, while lying on my stomach, on the living room floor. And she always made me an ice cream cone when I was finished, so as to cool me down inside the unconditioned house.
Or during the cold December, at Christmas time, when Grandma, hand sewed individual sticks of juicy-fruit, chewing gum, all around the pungent, 8-foot, cedar tree. My Grandpa always drove to Kendalia, and found the perfect cedar tree, by walking out into a backfield, and he chopped it down, and brought it home in the bed of his pickup truck every Christmas.
Grandma would always take the time to make her magical snow for the tree. She simply took a box of white, ivory, soap flakes, and beat it with water, using a mix master and a large bowl. When she carried the bowl of whipped, white, frothy soap into the living room, she carefully coated the dark, green leaves all over the cedar branches, using a large wooden spoon. She took great care to coat the entire cedar tree, with the thick, ivory snow.
I can still remember seeing the white, frocked, Christmas tree on Christmas morning. I remember walking barefoot into the cold living room, and seeing the dozens of yellow sticks of juicy-fruit, chewing gum, hanging from the branches of the white tree. The two hundred pastels of Christmas, light bulbs highlighted the yellow sticks of gum, along with the red and golden, glass ornaments, which all intertwined in the branches of the snow-covered tree.
I could always remember the sight of that heavenly Christmas tree, on a cold, windy, December day. I could recall the cold living room and the snowy, Christmas, anytime of the year that I wanted to. And I always thought about Grandma’s tree, when it was the middle of a sweltering, sun-backed, August. Whenever I was hot and sweaty, with the sun stinging the back of my neck, 0n a dry, Blanco summer day, I would make myself remember Grandmas white, Christmas tree, so it would cool me down a bit, inside of my mind.
Blanco summers, and all the things that I did in August with Grandpa and Grandma, blessed me with the simple pleasures, which made my boyhood years wonderful.
I will always remember the taste, and smell of the Blanco River water, the humming echo of yelling my name in the secret, pocket inside the waterfall, the safe scent and musk of Grandpa’s body, the smells inside the old white truck, and the sound of it squeaking down the hill to the Blanco State Park. I will always remember the aroma of the dark soil, and growing vegetables in Grandma’s bountiful garden, and the simple Formica table, crowded with the best food I ever ate.
I will remember running bonkers around the house in the blazing, golden, sun. But most of all, I think I will most vividly recall, Grandpa, Grandma and I lounging around in our private shaded heaven. I will always recollect sitting around the white, wagon-wheel table, underneath the green, swaying canopy of thousands of leaves.
I will continue to see us having fun, and hear us laughing while Grandpa, Grandma, and I were eating watermelon, playing dominoes, or just sitting quietly, rocking in a metal, shell back, lawn chair, contained by the huge shadows, underneath the cool, wetted leaves of the enormous box elder.
A few years after both Grandma and Grandpa were dead; a severe rainstorm came through Blanco. During this storm, cruel, hurricane-like, winds blew over our Box Elder shade tree.
The wagon wheel table still stood, but it ached of loneliness, isolated in the open plot of the grassy side yard. The table stood with dignity for years, determined and upright. It never lost its pride, even as its wooden top slowly deteriorated, cracked, and flaked apart the raging sun.
It would have killed Grandpa and Grandma to see that huge, wonderful shade tree laying on the ground, and then later cut up for firewood.
Later my mother sold the house, and the new owners uprooted that wonderful old wagon-wheel table, and just threw it away.
Our shaded paradise under the Tree at the table was gone forever.
I would do anything to be able to upright the felled Box Elder and bring Grandpa and Grandma back. If had one wish, and was granted the power to do anything I could want; I would use my wish to magically rewind the clock of my lifetime, and live as a boy forever, permanently on vacation in the Blanco summertime. I would spend my days sharing everything wonderful about Blanco with Grandpa and Grandma. And I would make sure to love them even a little bit more than I did half a century ago.
I never will have my wish to go back and be a boy, and live with Grandpa and Grandma, but I do not really have to, because I can still feel them, and they are both part of me.
Grandpa and Grandma live on in the best memories of my Lifetime
She told me that she loved me and I knew that she felt just as much in love as I did.
When we kissed, our lips, moved together and touched so
softly, like a butterfly closing its velvet wings, right when
they whisper gently together.
To my lament, I noticed one day that when we kissed, her
lips were colder than mine were.
This continued from that day on.
I thought that the heat of my lips meant that I was
passionate for her, but what it actually meant was that I
loved her in an all-embracing way, and she loved me in a less
I then realized that two people could love one another in different ways and the more joyful one would never recognize the rejection.
Never underestimate the power of denial.
Did she ever love me? Now I wonder if I can trust what she said to me. I would like to
think that I could because she said such warm, safe, and happy things.
I did not cling to her in fear. I lived and existed to cherish her. I wanted to share with
my life with her, two people fused into one soul, yet two separate individuals with their
But then again I think that she always had unspoken white lies so as not to hurt me.
Ironically, that is the thing that
I think hurt me the most.
I still live wounded from a broken heart,
and even though it was never actually true—
– that she was mine, when she was not –
—when I was living and thinking that, she
was mine, and not knowing— that she was gone – that was the happiest time of my life
She is the love of my life.
I do not know how to top that sort of resplendent joy.
I thought about how to go on with my life. I yearned dig a hole and crawl in it, and die. That was my
But my life goes on with or without my will. So now, I just get up each morning and breathe. Then I do
it again and again until I fall asleep at night.
I try not to dream of her, but I do, I wake up, and remember that she is not here. That really burns,
aches, and throbs like a red-hot hammer hit me in the chest.
Love comes in so many forms. Every love is different.
This one felled all my joy like a slain tree.
Source : How to Use the Power of the Printed Word, Doubleday
Newspaper reporters and technical writers are trained to reveal almost nothing about themselves in their writings. This makes them freaks in the world of writers, since almost all of the other ink-stained wretches in that world reveal a lot about themselves to readers. We call these revelations, accidental and intentional, elements of style.
These revelations tell us as readers what sort of person it is with whom we are spending time. Does the writer sound ignorant or informed, stupid or bright, crooked or honest, humorless or playful — ? And on and on.
Why should you examine your writing style with the idea of improving it? Do so as a mark of respect for your readers, whatever you’re writing. If you scribble your thoughts any which way, your readers will surely feel that you care nothing about them. They will mark you down as an egomaniac or a chowderhead — or, worse, they will stop reading you.
The most damning revelation you can make about yourself is that you do not know what is interesting and what is not. Don’t you yourself like or dislike writers mainly for what they choose to show you or make you think about? Did you ever admire an emptyheaded writer for his or her mastery of the language? No.
So your own winning style must begin with ideas in your head. Continue reading
I realized I was dyslexic when I went to a toga party dressed as a goat.
Marcus Brigstocke at the Assembly Rooms
Cats have nine lives. Which makes them ideal for experimentation. (Apologies to Rachel, Bryan 🙂
The right to bear arms is slightly less ludicrous than the right to arm bears.
Chris Addison at the Pleasance
My dad is Irish and my mum is Iranian, which meant that we spent most of our family holidays in Customs.
Patrick Monahan at the Gilded Balloon
The dodo died. Then Dodi died, Di died and Dando died. Dido must be sh*tting herself.
Colin & Fergus at the Pleasance
My parents are from Glasgow which means they’re incredibly hard, but I was never smacked as a child… well maybe one or two grams to get me to sleep at night.
Susan Murray at the Underbelly
Is it fair to say that there’d be less litter in Britain if blind people were given pointed sticks?
Adam Bloom at the Pleasance
My mum and dad are Scottish but they moved down to Wolverhampton when I was two, ’cause they wanted me to sound like a tw*t.
Susan Murray at the Underbelly
You have to remember all the trivia that your girlfriend tells you, because eventually you get tested. She’ll go: “What’s my favourite flower?” And you murmur to yourself: “Sh*t, I wasn’t listening… Self-raising?”
Addy Van-Der-Borgh at the Assembly Rooms
I saw that show, 50 Things To Do Before You Die. I would have thought the obvious one was “Shout For Help”.
Mark Watson, Rhod Gilbert at the Tron
I went out with an Irish Catholic. Very frustrating. You can take the Girl out of Cork…
Markus Birdman at the Pod Deco
Got a phone call today to do a gig at a fire station. Went along. Turned out it was a bloody hoax.
Adrian Poynton at the Pleasance
Employee of the month is a good example of how somebody can be both a winner and a loser at the same time.
Demetri Martin at the Assembly Rooms
A dog goes into a hardware store and says: “I’d like a job please”. The hardware store owner says: “We don’t hire dogs, why don’t you go join the circus?” The dog replies: “What would the circus want with a plumber”.
Steven Alan Green
Hey – you want to feel really handsome? Go shopping at Asda.
Brendon Burns at the Pleasance
It’s easy to distract fat people. It’s a piece of cake.
Chris Addison at the Pleasance
I enjoy using the comedy technique of self-deprecation – but I’m not very good at it.
Arnold Brown at The Stand
If you’re being chased by a police dog, try not to go through a tunnel, then on to a little seesaw, then jump through a hoop of fire. They’re trained for that.
Milton Jones at the Underbelly
In the womb as unborn babies, we each shared ourselves with our mother through the umbilical cord of life. In this union, we are totally dependent upon our mother for our very existence. We received nourishment from our mother. And with her, we also shared the very same breath of life.
Through this connection with our mother, we joined together in the union of a shared human bond of safety and love. We needed our mother, just as our mother needed us to need her also. The psychologically healthy bond between two people fulfills the needs of both individuals
I believe that as we live out our lives, we carry an unconscious emotional craving for this original nascent union. We seem to seek emotional connections with other human beings to satisfy our craving. We still seem to need to share our selves. We all need to need someone, and at the same time, we need to feel needed by him or her. I think one human being must join emotionally with other human beings in order to feel fulfilled, in order to be truly happy, and even in order to survive. Continue reading
8-year-old Ricky remained focused, carefully counting the number of paces as he walked away from the playground and headed straight out into the vast, open, grassy field of the city park. Ricky was a boy curious about all things. And the 8-year-old wanted to know exactly how many steps it was from the merry go round, to the spot-on center of the open green expanse.
Ricky counted his paces in his mind, while his mouth worked silently, as it always did whenever he was in deep thought. He never let himself daydream or lose his count; on the contrary, he tallied each successive pace, noting the incrementing total with a pronounced seriousness. Finally, he was nearly to his destination. He kept his eye on the central point as he counted… 497, 498, and 499. Ricky stopped. He was standing on the spot.
It took the young boy exactly 499 paces to get from the merry go round, to the exact spot-on center of the lush, emerald-green field. If Ricky’s total step count had been a perfect, round numbered 500, he would have been quite suspicious of himself. Most 8-year-old boys would take an extra step on purpose, and pretend that they had not, because a total of exactly 500 steps would seem joyfully miraculous, and a lot luckier than 499—but it was not honest, and the total would not be true. Most boys would not care. But Ricky would, and he knew life usually gave you a less exciting, but correct number. So this is how he knew that the count was indeed 499 steps exactly.
As he stood at center point, Ricky noticed his shadow. The afternoon sun that day was a joyful radiant orb and it bathed the park in long, extending, golden rays of light. Continue reading
The small train limped slowly along the snow-covered tracks. It was not a strong engine pulling the six passenger cars and caboose. To cut expenses there was no berthing car and no commissary or diner area. It was primarily a third rate, lower class transportation means meant only for the poor working class, those who would bring their own food to eat and sleep on the seats of the passenger cars, wrapped in old mildewed blankets, exhausted and sunk into a mass much like wet, heavy sacks of bad potatoes. It was the least expensive passenger coach that could make the 750 mile slog from El Paso, Texas, up and through the mountain passes to its final destination in Rifle, Colorado.
Along the climbing, route through the passes in Colorado, the tiny train rounded the powdery bases of the immense white, snow-swaddled mountains. The tiny engine carriage smokestack coughed and hacked up thick black plumes of smoldering coal residue, the furnace constantly gasping for air, as the fire powered the steam engine and it ascended arduously through the peaks and snowy passes. In the engine car, the fireman worked double- time shoveling coal into the fire box. It was all he could do to feed the fire, to heat enough steam, to keep up the train’s present sluggish pace.
Inside the second passenger, carriage was a small frail girl. She rode all by herself, alone and insignificant, sitting on the hard wooden passenger bench. The girl had a one-way ticket to Colorado, all paid for with money scratched together, and donated by numerous neighbors of the girl’s parents. She had no other money.
I am an old man now. I have lived 82 long years and I have seen many things as you might imagine. I know how old men tend to corner young people, then chatter on and on in an attempt to “enlighten them.” Most al old men all tend to think that they alone, have pawed loose brilliant answers from the cosmic yarn ball of the greatest questions of time. And they talk truly believing that they are the only ones who ever got it right.
I would never presume to do such an unjust thing to anyone. This said I would like to suggest one idea for your consideration. It is the only thing I have to say to anyone that I think may actually be worth hearing. You may use it or ignore it as you see fit, and I promise I will say no more.
The only wisdom I may have is this: the one thing I found that was really necessary for me to live a happy life. The only advice I can offer simply put is always try to remind yourself to be fully present and aware in the present moment. Some call it “Being in The Now.” And that seems to me to be the best way to describe it.
If one thing is true it is that, we humans all naturally tend to forget to appreciate the wonder of the little things in the present moment. The present and the infinite sum of all the tiny things in our life around us “right now,” these things I suggest are all that we ever really have. And in a very real way, I would propose that there is nothing that truly exists but “right now.”
Enthusiastically experiencing these things all around us “in the now,” can make our life in the present magnificent. It can also help us find something encouraging to hold on to, stay afloat and survive after the ship has sunk and we are treading water far from land.
Noticing the wonderful little things as they happen makes my life much richer. Yet this is something I must constantly remind themself to do.
It is not hard to notice these things if I actively, and continually try.
As these are the most obvious things in my life. I am talking everything I can cherish. I am talking about regularly involving my mind in spiritual practice, and being in fellowship. I am talking about really grasping sunsets, about actually paying attention to a child’s laugher, and experiencing the gift of fully witnessing morning dew clinging tenuously to silky rose buds on my rose bush at sunrise. Continue reading