Monday, April 24, 2017

This past weekend, I made a quickie trek out to Alpine. Really and truly I needed to reset my taste-buds and renew my nose to country air. I just needed to get out of town for a couple of days. I was stale. Berutted: if you like. For a brief case of ad nauseum, my zest was all pith!
This July would have marked two years since i had taken any time to slow down and measure the world around me. Yes, my yardstick was dry rotten. Interestingly enough, once I hit town all I wanted to do was curl up at the hotel and sleep. I'm sure Karl Jung would have a wise theory or two about that, but the next part would have caused him some contradiction. I generally don't dream. I simply pass out and wait for the next day to start, but from the first night I dreamed of running.
Years ago, in a galaxy far far away, I ran. I'd been doing it since I was a kid. If I wasn't running, i was biking. So when I left High School at 17 I weighed about 180lbs, but it was all leg and butt. I could open beers with my toes, but struggled to carry in groceries with my chicken wing arms. Well, the Army got the arms in line with the legs and my first two company commanders were both runners. I had it on good advice that if my commander was into something I better be able to converse in it without sounding like an idiot. So, I started running after hours and early mornings. A few miles here and there. I kept it to a three day a week type thing. Honestly, i was never disciplined enough to be a serious road runner. Oh sure, I did take a crack at it.
In 1984, or there abouts, I and my company commander both ran the Mule Mountain Marathon from Bisbee to Ft Huachuca. He ran the full thing, I ran a half. We both started the race as the first member of a 5 man relay. I remember i crossed the 5 mile mark right at 30 minutes. It was 29 and change and Carrington my commander was about 10 or so seconds ahead of me. (Side note: Alberto Salazar ran that year and he was about 20 seconds ahead of me)
At the half, I crossed walking at just short of 1:40. I felt good. My legs were chapped and sore and my shoes had long since failed, but I felt pretty damn good. I was invited to have beers with my friends that night and i made it through about a half of one before I fell  asleep.
That next year, I met the Hoyt's in Tucson. I'm still blown away. In those few brief moments, i learned what a Father's Love really is. In a nutshell, it's something i'll never achieve, but in my own weird way I do try. That last sentence makes me a bit sad, but it is the honest truth.
At this time in life, i varied between 202 - 215 pounds. Which is too heavy for a runner, especially one of any distance. I was reminded of this regularly. The guy at the local shoe store there on Fry Street loved me. I stopped in regularly to get a new pair of Asics. He took pity on me with some pretty great discounts and naturally I sent everyone to him.
I ran in Tucson, Phoenix, hell the Army had an MWR (morale, Welfare, and Recreation) run through Death Valley. I did that one twice and it nearly killed me. So, that little voice in the back of my head about being too big to run came to the front and with a new wife came a new life. Oh, I still ran here and there, I largely gave up on running until i got back to Alpine in '89.
That period, I would get out and run the loop road, or to the airport and back, I ran in from the road side park out west of town and from the Y. It was a great stress reliever.
One of the last times I went out for a run was pretty early on in my current relationship. I had been going out pretty regularly for a two to three mile run, when one morning I had stopped out by the airport on my way back into town to walk and drink some water and I met a guy who was also out for a run. it turned out he was in town to make a superbowl commercial for Footlocker. Oddly enough, I had gotten a day job as Assistant to the Location Manager for that same shoot. The runner was Joe Falcon. He was a real nice man and yes, he did find it odd that someone of my size was out running. I couldn't believe that I had just met a world class runner in Alpine. The last I heard, he had become a police officer or something of that nature.
I woke up from this dream where I was running around loop road, waving at Roy Dodson, who was painting a door leaned up against the rock wall in front of his house, with fireworks going off at the park in the middle of the day. I sat up. Then, I stood up and my feet groaned. Today, i'm somewhere north of 300 pounds. All the years of pavement pounding and the resulting arthritis and bone spurs reminded me i'm still too big to run, but as long as I keep moving toward the next destination i'm still in the race.
It is my custom to post around my Birthday even when I post nothing further in the year. I recently turned 52 and this will have to suffice as my celebratory post. These days my thoughts are of my family. My aging parents who no longer go to bed late and get up early, but have traded that for something horrifyingly different. My children whom have all grown and found lives of their very own. My little grandchildren whom I could never see enough. Most interestingly, i'm watching all the friends from all the years have their faces betrayed by time and the crisp colors of their hair turned into a rainbow of starlight revealing the pain and wisdom hard won in races of their own.
As I keep moving toward the next destination I pray that each of you stays in the race for you are valued. A little more wrinkle, a little more silver, or even being too big to run are preferable to no race at all.
Until I write again, Peace be with you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Don't Miss Out

    Today is November 10, 2015. It's been nearly a year since my last posting. For all intents and purposes, i've lost the spark, or desire, or quite possibly my muse did a no call/ no show at some time previous. I have no idea which is the relevant answer. What I do know is I've stopped writing. Writing has always been a compulsion. More to the point an obsession. Tiny scribblings of pieces and parts strewn about like prayers upon the wind. Alas: no litter, prayers, or wind. I'm left with the smoldering embers of a fire whose smoke rises in small wisps staining the walls and choking the apparatus. I owe myself so much more. I owe my children more. I owe my reluctant audience more.
     I turned Fifty this year. The day came and went without incident. Any attempt from me to illustrate my relief at waking the next day would be feeble at best...Perhaps, I digress.
     When I was approaching my Thirtieth Birthday an acquaintance of mine offered the following, "Nothing is ever the same after you turn Thirty." It was within a few weeks following my Thirtieth when I had my collapse. Was this the product of self fulfilling thought or had I been running on the fringe of human endurance for so long I just gave out? I don't know and it will remain unanswered. That same day this acquaintance went on to state, "...and if you think Thirty is rough, just wait till you hit Fifty. Oh Man!!!"
     Thirty was a turning point for me. No more caffeine or stimulants of any kind and the beginning of a stunning inventory of medications which has taken the better part of Twenty years to hammer out and pare down to a handful which will accompany me the entirety of my days. So, with her words about Fifty echoing through my skull, I spent the better part of a year vacillating between: fear, anxiety, and reconciliation.
     In the weeks leading up to my birthday, I could feel myself becoming more and more out of control. I'm not talking about the sort of control we would like to believe we hold over our lives, but the control over the thoughts betraying me at every turn. My attendance at work suffered, my home life suffered, and those closest to me suffered in there was absolutely nothing they could do for me. Then the night before my birthday, just before I went to bed, I said my Rosary for what I believed to be the last time. I patted my sleeping partner on the forehead and stroked her face. Just before laying my head down, i placed a note to my best friend with everything he'd need to know under my phone. In that moment, my life was complete. Perhaps not complete, but settled to a reasonable degree.
     On April 20th, I woke. My life continued. I looked up and said, "Thank You." It seemed like the reasonable thing to do.
     Since that morning, I've been working at being alive. I've seen a Cardiologist, all clear there. My Widower Son-in Law has become engaged to a great woman. She is not a replacement for my Daughter, rather she is the next incarnation of his life. I wish them all the best and more. Over the fourth of July, I was reacquainted with my oldest son. I met his wife and their two children. They are a fine young family. They are conscientious parents and my Grandchildren are no less than what i'd expect them to be, and beautiful too. My boys whom are half out of the nest are turning into fine men. All I expect of my children is to obey the law and do something with their lives and they are actively working it. My job is very trying at times, but as I consider these folks an extension of my own family, I do my best to provide them with the best I have.
     Looking back to my birthday this year, had I stayed sleeping en perpetuity, I would have missed out on a great many things. Then again, those people in my life, most certainly, would have missed out as well. If I am to retrieve a single pearl from this it has to be nothing short of it isn't over until it is over. Try not to sweat the silliness around you and as Matthew McConaughey says, "Just Keep Livin!"

Until I write you again, Peace be with you,

Sunday, January 25, 2015

On the occasion of January 25th

 Please, Forgive me. It's been nearly ten months since I have written anything in here. To say that i've been busy wouldn't be lying, but it's not exactly the truth either. I've been doing what all functioning mentally ill people do; get up everyday, deal with it, and hope my train doesn't derail in public. Toward that end, I was hired by a friend of mine to handle her business' virtual presence and to automate some of its associated processes (They are teaching me to repair sewing machines too, what a bonus!!!). It is not hyperbole when I say, "She saved my life". Even her knowing how the rats tear at my skull, she still hired me when so many others have not. I will love her forever.
Given the nature of my job, I have hours to think. An endless parade of point, counter-point. A focus for the echoes, the could haves, the should haves, and the wills yet to see fruition.
Everyone has benchmarks in their calendar which bring about celebration or remembrance. For me January brings about a period of remembrance.
The end of January is a hard time for me. The weather usually matches my mood, though today, as I write, it's in the 70's, sunny  and a lite breeze. What might be deemed the perfect weather seems oddly appropriate for the "Thesis Du Jour".
My Grandfather (above), teacher, life coach, confidant, and friend died this day in 1994. He left this world in a very short time and left a void in my life which I never expect to fill. My Daughter (Right), teacher, life coach, confidant and friend died this day in 2005. Today marks the tenth anniversary of her passing.
Few helped shape me as these two have. Funny and all weathered. Each possessing a zest for life and a boundless curiosity of all things. Music lovers and rascals each, they left this world a smaller place, but the memories and stories we tell brighten my cave.
A friend from my youth lost her husband a year or so back and the only thing I could think of was what not to say. That thing being, "I'm sorry".  Another friend from my youth lost her son recently and i've struggled at something of value to say to her and again, my words fail me.
I've been to far too many funerals and the words, "I'm sorry" just don't assuage anything. The intent may be present, but the substance is gone. It's all used up. Condolences should never produce numbness and ire. Yet the desire to say something generally overrides sensibility and we are left with "I'm sorry". I could postulate a thousand theories as to why we use sorry in that venue, but I believe most of us could. "My thoughts and prayers are with you", grows more stale by the day, but it really is the thought that counts at times like these. Though it doesn't have to be. With a little effort we can bridge a span of that gulf which lies between the living and those surviving, but it takes initiative on your part. In the absence of that initiative, we default to what's handy.
So we march on. We remember those gone on and await our own mystery to unfold. Every day an unknown. Don't waste it on the petty. Instead, visit your Grandmother and show your children where you come from, go call a friend just to let them know you are thinking of them, hold your child even if they are grown. Today is the day to tell them who they are to you.

Until I write again, Peace be with you,

Monday, April 28, 2014

I Have Valuable Time at 49

     I rounded another milestone last week. Birthdays! When you are young they seem like grand family occasions. It's the one day of the year when the collective attention is expended upon you. Cake. Ice Cream. Presents. Laughter and smiles, the soft underpinning of family galvanized around a central theme. Homespun magic.
     As time passes, these magical events change. For many of us, they morph into a ritual performed more for our children than ourselves. Honestly, I believe I enjoy those more than the ones of my childhood. 
     My children have grown past that point and are entering the phase where they are spending their own money and time to recognize my birthday. It's strangely new, but comfortable. How can any thinker not be fully aware this evolution happens. 
     Many years ago, my daughter and I had an occasion to discuss what would be the perfect birthday gift for me. Actually, it didn't start out that way. The best I can remember would be it started out with the formula for how much to spend on an engagement ring if you are a man. The answer to that, according to the diamond industry, would be where the value of the ring is equal to one months salary. That is when our conversation turned to how much money should a person spend on a parents birthday present. You know, as in what would be proper. The subjectivity of this truly is mind altering. I told her it really isn't about the amount of money you spend, rather being able to identify with the recipient and their likes, dislikes and desires. 
     Finally, we got to the real question. She wanted to know how much money my ideal birthday present would cost. I told her it wouldn't really cost any money at all. She didn't understand. How could the perfect birthday present for me cost nothing. I told her it just didn't. So naturally, she wanted to know what it was. I told her I couldn't tell her. Not that it's a secret or classified or salacious, it just happens to not cost any money. I told her in time she'd figure it out and that we'd both have a great laugh over it when she did. 
     You know, I've been around the sun forty nine times and it occurs to me, i inadvertently lied to her that day. I told her she'd figure it out and that we'd have a big laugh when she did. As many of you know, she's gone beyond this world. I think that is the very thesis of the chat she and I had that day. That chat. The fleeting moment between us that day was the best present. Truly, it's the best present any of us can ever receive. Those stolen, fleeting, cherished moments which color our lives. There is nothing more precious than time.
     I am haunted by time and its cherished moments. Though the moments yet to come gird me against any misery I may carry. 
     This year, my older son left me two bags of peanut butter M&M's, a rather large bottle of Lemon Tea and a handwritten note. The tea and candy, though i consumed them, meant nothing to me. Conversely, his handwritten note I placed in my Bible. It's only two lines long with a signature, but no platinum or gold could ever replace it.
     I received some really nice presents this year. Among them, an Immersion Circulator which I will use the hell out of.  Just less than 50% of my Facebook friends list clicked the little Happy Birthday alert. (I have to admit that I really love that!!!) Even more interesting is that 26% of the list chose to write a complete sentence. Those I really love. This speaks volumes for the people on that list.
     Finally my younger son, whom just finished High School, had no money and wanted to borrow some to go get me a present and probably a huge tub of coke from the quick shop down the street. I told him it wasn't necessary for him to spend money on me. I thanked him for recognizing my birthday and that was plenty. He said, "Well is there anything I can do for you?" You have to know this made me smile. I fixed us a couple of Dr. Peppers and we just sat at the table and talked for a good long while. We even got in a few rounds of dominos. There was my son: no phone, no headphones, no TV. Just he and I spending time together. 
     As you may have guessed it, that was my favorite present this year. He took time out of his world to spend some in mine. There is no truer gift I can imagine. My fervent prayer is that he, his brother, and all the rest of us come to realize the value of time. 
     Though it is a miracle to get a word in edgewise when talking to me at times; I understand the value. I know that long after that Immersion Circulator is all used up and gone, A few sentences online, A hand or two of Dominos, A handwritten note, or even a beloved conversation from the front porch possesses a value which will never dim. 

Until I write again, find your time and Peace be with you, D

Thursday, January 2, 2014

First Post of '14; Maybe I'll Post More Often This Year.

Well, it's January 1st, 2014. Who'd've thunk it!!! (Fear not! I can write that way. I have an English Degree and I love breaking the rules.)
Traditionally, i write a post in the first week of the year talking about the previous year and i'll have it no different this year. I admit 2013 is a bit of a blur to me. I'd love nothing more than to blame this on some strange continual stupor due to the Agavaceae, but i just can't.  Yes, Agavaceae, is a real word and it's a whole lot more fun than writing Tequila and Sotol. Okay, enough hand holding, either keep up or i'll pull your library card.
I believe 2013 is a blur because there really were some significant moments in the year that just don't rear their ugly heads all too often. We had a record snowfall early in the year and i got to go driving in just over two feet of snow. When you drive a 25 year old Isuzu Trooper, snow like that suddenly becomes a "Call to Arms". What a wonderful, wonderful few days that was. Though on the other side of that, my trip to Alpine in November for ArtWalk was far better suited for a Zamboni!!!
I learned the wonderful feeling that comes from watching your child graduate high school and the unbelievable boredom that accompanies the ceremony. Great day and pretty good food!
My trip this year took me to Dallas for a few days. In considering some of the places i have gone in the past, Dallas doesn't seem like all that much, but it turned out to be the right place at the right time. I will remember that trip for many years to come (Mango smoothy and a bubble bath). Which reminds me, if you are ever in Denton stop by Ravelyn Bakery. Everything is artisan and wonderful. I usually get some multi-grain bread of some kind with spelt and the spinach and feta croissants are amazing. I have to admit the chocolate and almond ones aren't bad either. Hell! Just get one of everything.
I started Grad School this fall. Grad School. Me?? It's funny just how disparate a Composition Degree is from a Literature Degree. At the University of North Texas, i was taught how to write for nearly any audience. The one thing we didn't spend much time on was Academic Writing. As life would have it, Academic Writing is the sole form of writing in a Literature Program. Cough, Gag, Splat!!! It's not all bad. I dropped a class and got an A and a B in the other two. So, as ill prepared as i was for this, i'm surviving. The program is a struggle for me because i'm not one of those people who reads a book and then asks questions about what the author was thinking by giving the little girl a grape snow cone (As though I give a shit). After this is over, i'll probably end up at Texas State in San Marcus. (Is that Texas State??)
As many of you know, all of my friends, well 95% of my friends are girls. Okay, maybe that's not fair anymore. I don't see myself as being of sufficient age to call these ladies, women, but girls seems a bit pejorative. They are all brilliant and beautiful and add so much to the world. I guess it's okay to call them women. Not surprising, i made a few new friends at school and i even made friends with a guy. I know it's weird, but he's no chest pounding neanderthal, so we made fast friends. One of the other highlights of my year came this fall when i reconnected with a friend (female) from my youth. I had always remembered her fondly. She was a dynamo. Guess what!!! She's still a dynamo, though now she's a dynamo with experience!!! The best part i would guess is that she's still an island of honesty in a sea of half truths and I just love that about her.
So, the year came and went. No trumpets! No fanfare! Only the tireless ticking of time which proceeds whether we do or not. To some degree, I did move forward. Did I get fair value for my time this past year? I think not.
I'm asserting that this year I will strive to realize a greater value for my time. I'll be returning to my meditations as, in reflection, 2013 was a pretty angry year for me. Lots of anger and wasted time. I don't need it; I don't want it; And certainly as all human's know, we can't afford it. Life is too precious.
I'm going to thank a few people (which is always a dangerous activity) for their role in this previous year. If you're not on this list, chalk it up to me being crazy and tired.  Many thanks to: Virginia, always a breath of fresh air; Hummingbird, Mrs and Mr Groove, Pug Love, and LP, as disjointed at it was, it meant alot being there; Canyon Coffee Girl, you reaffirm my faith in people; Canyon Beat Poet, you the man Hoss; C.A.T. Woman, The conscience i'll never have; Tacoma Teaser, for all the reasons and post cards too; Shanny Wanny, all that and brilliant too; and Bubbles, purveyor of the most painful of priceless.
To everyone, I wish you a wonderful journey through 2014
Peace Be With You All, DDDDave

P.S. Still pushing for a June Release of "Voices From A Friendly State"

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Part Buffalo, All Dave

Nearly three years ago when we moved to Amarillo, i had it fixed in my head that once i returned to the Dallas area i'd get my Master's Degree. Well, i'm tired of waiting. Earlier this year, i applied to West Texas A&M to enter their Master's Program for English and was accepted. Kinda like, if you can tolerate us, then we'll tolerate you. A month or so later i met with a few of the faculty about a Graduate Assistantship. I haven't heard about that yet, but they won't get all charged up about that for a few more weeks. Providing i survive this evolution, i'll return home to The University of North Texas and their fabulous English Department for my Ph.D. But, that's a whole other show.
I'm really curious as to what school will be like. My earliest experiences with college happened at a small Division III school. I carried a "B" average and never bought a book. I tried this approach at North Texas and it being a Div. I school was an exercise in flawed thought. I remember my first semester there and my books, which i bought on the fourth class day, cost me $500.50 Dollars. You know i let out a mild gasp and the sales clerk didn't even seem to notice. That semester i had 15 novels for a utopic/dystopic literature class and 7 readers for an American fiction class. I'd never read that much in my life and doubt i have since. It was rough, but i learned a hell of a lot and that speaks volumes for the faculty there and like my favorite professor of all time "Haj" said, "you put some work into it too".
Well here's to putting some work back into it. Classes begin on August 26th, so i'm off to clear my head and find my pen. Sorry i haven't posted in so long, but i had a child graduate from high school and I swear i have less time now than i did before. I guess it is time for me to hang up my apron and get back to my stuff. It's just a little difficult shifting gears. Don't mind me, i'll find my feet rest assured.
Till i talk with you again, Peace Be With You, D

Monday, May 6, 2013

Bucket's Heading On

Today is May 6th. In Thirty-Three days, my older son will graduate from Tascosa High School. I'm not sure what I was expecting this time to be like, from Prom to Graduation, but this sure isn't it. I had visions of a generally happy time in which there would be several conversations about what the future might hold for him and how to get there. Boy, was I living in a bubble!
Now, I do know he is experiencing Senioritis and certainly has fears about leaving the nest. These i'd consider to be normal feelings for someone his age. The thing i hadn't counted on is the moodiness that goes with it. Don't get me wrong, I love my son, but i'd love to brain him with a two by and get his attention. I'm sure he'll survive the transition, but will i have any hair left by then is the question. I'm a little short on that already!
I know i do quite a bit of complaining, but all things considered he's a good kid. He's principled, chosen a noble career, and has a great work ethic. I realize things could be a lot worse.
As you might have guessed, he's going to be a Fireman, Firefighter, Calendar Guy, whatever your euphemism, you get the idea. And in case you are wondering, YES, his arms and chest are that big. 6' and a bit and 230lbs! I was going to attach the youtube video of him bench pressing what I weigh a couple times over, but it's not sticking tonight.  He's a gentle giant that will succeed or drive me crazy doing it.
This one is for you Bucket!!! I'm proud of you and I Love you, but i can still kick your ass anytime i want.
Until i visit with you again, May Peace Be With You,  D       a.k.a. Bucket's Dad