Day By Day

Day by day, I sit here and there, moving around, piddling and pondering what is the meaning of my life.

Like a modern day, Robinson Crusoe, immortalized by the author, Robert Louis Stevenson, I am stuck on an island, but, of my own choosing, which I have determined to be my sanctuary.  If not opulent, in its surroundings, there is certainly everything you may think of to make my presence here,comfortable, relaxing and even fulfilling.  I am surrounded with the “waters” I love, my farm, my books, my art work, my music, computers, train layouts, plenty of food, my pets, aviation related items and such, my motorcycle, my study, my library, my fireplaces (three in total), swimming pool, airfield, large barn, animals of all kinds, comfortable furniture, a baby grand piano, guitars and other instruments and on and on and on.  It is an imposed “isolation” that has no constraints or boundaries, and yet there is something missing.

That missing ingredient is daily companionship, in my opinion.  Like Robinson, most of his daily needs and aspirations were met, but not until he met a companion, did he find the fulfillment and warmth of human companionship.  He found that when he met Friday.

Who was Friday?   He was the “black” native, castaway, that like Robinson, had found himself in such a similar predicament and situation.   He too, it might be said, found and discovered the bonding of human companionship with Robinson.  The two of them made a dynamic duo, the likes of which, did not exist on that island heretofore.  Now their days were filled with interaction and vibration of spirits, one with another.  Two distinctly different “worlds” or “personalities” gently ebbing in and out of each others proximities.   This is the important aspect of interaction between people that can only occur between two or more persons.  Animals are great, but they are not the same, as interacting with your own species!

Somewhere, along the way, we realize the importance of this social interaction, which gives new meaning and new depth to the existence of which we have chosen for ourselves.  This is why, in regards to incarceration and exile, that solitary confinement is so undesirable and so debilitating to the individual.  There is no escape!

To escape, gives relief, refreshment and reflection!   Once these are obtained, the individual can “go back” to their solitude and confinement and even tranquility, seeking for another burst of inspiration, insight and prospects of peaceful contentment with ones’ self.

Thank goodness I am free to come and go as I please, and to interact with all those who may present themselves in this world.  To have a loving wife and children and grand children and friends and associates and others, with whom I share common bonds of love and understanding.  Without these, I would only be a “speck” on the wall of eternity.  With these, I am much more, for not only have I found the “peace of living,” but, I have found the promise and hope of much more than myself.  For I have become the “essence” of life, for myself, as I interact and contribute to the “essence” of lif

e for humanity itself, in my small part.

And, as the Bible says, “And the moving finger, having writ, moves on.”

Sitting By the Fireplace

Once upon a time,

fireplace-2017

I sat down by my fireplace enjoying the day.  A Saturday morning, February 18, 2017; not too hot, not too cold; but, cool enough and wet enough for a light fire in the fireplace to take off the chill in the air.

Looking at the fireplace I see the mirror of my life in the broken and uneven hearth, built with my own hands, just like my life.  I see all the ups and downs, all the incongruities, all the imperfections, and yet, I see the stability, the permanence, the strength of its character.

The stone mostly came from here, off the farm, with a little Tennessee field stone thrown in for help.  It has one large lintel stone that covers the exposed face to my inner library, man cave!  The mantel is a double cut log of solid oak, cut from the big tree that fell in the yard several years ago.  It is facaded by its own bark and covered with Civil War medals from my younger days of re-enacting all over the South as a Confederate soldier.

The fire burns swiftly and brightly and warms the room with a sort of ethereal brilliance created no other way.

The air is filled with the sweet aroma of pipe tobacco, a nice Virginia, Ready Rubbed, Golden Sweet Pipe Tobacco.  Fired up  in a genuine Meerschaum Corn Cobb Pipe, just like General MacArthur smoked in World War II, in the Phillippines , when he landed at Manila.  Only the stem is shorter.  I do enjoy a good pipe smoke every so often!

In this world of seclusion, I find sanctuary from the daily grind and outside world.  Solitude and tranquility surround me and enfold me in warm memories and distant times and even visions of the future.  Everything in here has a meaning and a purpose.  I am encompassed by more than a few thousand books of my favorite choosing and a plethora of memorabilia and souvenirs.  Things from all over the world, from the depths of the Amazon Jungle to Guyana, South America, China, Cuba, The Caribbean Islands, Japan, Ireland, Scotland, Ghana, Africa,  Europe, Canada, and all the United States of America.  My family, collectively, have traveled pretty much all over the world and it has instilled in me just how big this old world really  is and how still, there is no place like home!

Wow!  What a rush, when you think about all of that and how all these myriad of things have formed and shaped your life!  It’s a wonderful world even out there, as well as in here!

Hey, we need another log on the fire!  Getting low!  See ya next time!

 

Nothing Succeeds Like Success

When you think of all the possibilities, we are reminded of the old adage, “Nothing Succeeds Like Success!!!”

This application of thought can be applied in many different ways depending on your needs and your perspective.

Just this morning, while at the local breakfast place,

hold up with my Big Irish Wolfhound, both of us sitting in our car, eating a delightful breakfast, as we often do, I was attracted to the nice, big, pretty, RED, stake side, flat bed, 3500 Truck, which had just parked next to us.  And, you know what?  I can not tell you for sure, if it was a Ford or a Chevrolet, but, I am pretty sure it was a Ford.  I particularly like Fords.  Have all my life and have owned several Ford Trucks!

This truck really caught my eye, because I had been observing another such truck (white) at a local car lot and just knew it would be ideal for our work on the farm!  This truck at breakfast was RED and shinny and looked like new!

When the owner came back and opened the door, I took the opportunity to holler over at him and tell him what a good looking truck he had!   He was pleased and  appreciative and I used the additional door opening of conversation to expand my inquiry.

Before he left the parking lot, I got out of my car and caught him one more time, just before he was leaving.  Turns out that he just uses his truck to do light farm work on his farm.  He can carry six (6) round bales of hay at a time.  UMMM, I thought that was very good.  Then I asked if he sold any hay and he said no, he just did his own hay and that was all, just for his own needs around the farm.  He had a few head of cattle and so on.

Well, before we were finished, we had each other’s names and addresses, and fifty years of information on each other, discovering that we both had worked at Six Flags Over Georgia.  He was about to retire from there, in their Mechanical Fleet, and I had worked there early when I was in college as a Caricature Artist.  We had a common bond instantly, we are almost the same age, and we both have small farms.  And on top of that, he lives near the airport, where I keep my airplanes!   Wow!

The point that I want to make here, is that, even the “Appearance” of success, in the most common and mundane environment can really communicate!   That “shinny” new RED Truck, just screamed “SUCCESS!” and I recognized it as an opportunity for me to learn more.  If I had not called out first and investigated further, it certainly would have been my lost for that opportunity!

Now, I have a new friend, who has a shinny new truck, and we do plan to visit sometime in the near future on our two farms.  On top  of all that, he, like me, of course, is a very nice person.  And, for whatever it is worth, he is Black and I am White!  Otherwise, we are like the same person and we are both Americans!

Success, comes in many different forms, shapes and colors!  And it comes in many different sizes, from big to little!  To say that “One thing leads to another,” is an understatement.

So, as you go about your daily activities, “Peel” your eyes for success and see where it may lead you.  You never know!!!  You could end up making a new friend with a shinny new truck!

 

The Struggle for Identity

“I is,” and “I ain’t!”

It literally makes me nauseated to even think about it!  I am throwing up as we talk and are putting to words the difficult measure of identity!  Maybe, it was just the orange juice that I over loaded on this morning!  Ummmm  ……

Well, it certainly raises the question, of what is, and what is not!  As we travel through this thing called “Life,” we often stop and think, just what are the measurements of our accomplishments and what have we really done?

Most things don’t give us much trouble, but, then, there are other areas, maybe just a few, that really give us a run for our money sometimes!  For example:

  • What race are we a member of?  White? Caucasian?  Black?  Brown?  Asian? Indian?  American Indian?  Russian?  Croatian?  Irish?
  • So, by the same logic, we may ask what is our own ethnicity?   May have to go to DNA!
  • What religion are we?
  • What do we believe?
  • What is the true description of our work?  Of our job?  Of our responsibilities?
  • Are we tall?   Or are we short?  By whose standards?
  • Are we overweight or underweight?
  • Are you this or are you that?
  • Are you a member?  Or are you not a member?
  • You get the picture!

Which brings me to one primary consideration.

In college, during the Vietnam War Era, I enjoyed the benefit of a college deferment from the draft as a registered 18 year old.  I went to college, Emory University, and while there, volunteered to join the United States Air Force, AFROTC Program.  Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corp.  As a Cadet, I was issued both work and dress uniforms, which I wore with pride.  I became an important member of the Rifle Drill Team, and I assumed other responsibilities as offered and needed.  I studied military tactics and drill on the field, and we observed special events and holidays along with our counter gender, Angel Flight.  All this time I kept up a full academic college load of studies.

During this time, we would, from time to time, in full uniform, fly in U. S. Air Force airplanes, to such places as the U. S. Air Force Museum, at Dayton, Ohio, at Dayton Air Force Base.  While there we visited and touched such items as the Enola Gay, the B-52, that delivered the first and second Atomic Bomb during World War II.  And other great aircraft, as well as Air Force Personnel.   We flew back home in the same Air Force Airplane, a Convair 340.  We were United States Air Force thru and thru!

During this time, I took, and made a

high grade on the OCS examination, for Officer Candidate School.  I was military all the way, almost!  But, as time passed, the government wanted a bigger and bigger commitment from me on the time that I would actually spend in the military after college.  I wanted to go to Law School.  They said okay, but that will mean six more years on top of the two, for a total of eight years you will be committed to the Air Force.  That seemed like a long time when you are young and it was not my intention to make the military a career for me.  So later, I withdrew from AFROTC and the apparent dead end road that I was traveling on!

Later the draft went to use a new method of selection for the “Selected Service” and that was the Draft Lottery.  Each Birthday was given a number by draw from a lottery of 365 numbers.  My Birthday of July 6 was #327, as I recall.  It was a very high number and I would most likely not be drafted anytime soon!  I finished college, went to Law School, and got on with my life!  Although I did not finish Law School, after my first year, I went into private business and began to pursue my other dreams in life!

So, I admit it, it has always haunted me, that I was in the military, but, I wasn’t!  There, I have said it!  I did all these things including having an M-14 Rifle (No firing pin), wore the uniform of my country, flew on Air Force Airplanes, marched in Parades, etc., etc., etc.

Now, when all those who are Veterans, who have worn the Uniform, of any branch of the service, please stand up and be recognized, is announced –  I remain seated, because I wrestle with these issues in my mind so heavily!  Yes and no, the arguments can go on, ad- infinitum!

So, in the final analysis, I believe that it is what “You Believe” that is important, within reason.  This puts the burden of proof on what is the reasonable man!  And, this has been the bases for the law and all other things for ages!   What is reasonable???   And who is the “Reasonable Man?”

Is is “You?” Or is it “Me?

Me, of course!

Don’t you agree!?!

It is what you believe!

Last Blog of 2016

Well, the year is about past!  This is the last of 2016!  Wow!  What a year!

For you, I hope this has been an especially good year.  If you are like me, you have experienced a little bit of everything.  From good to sad, we have seen it all!

Just yesterday, December 29, 2016, we had the occasion to bury a dear Brother in Law, of 25 years, who finally succumbed to the frailties of life at a relatively young age of 52.  The Eulogy was given by myself and his daughter and afterwards I played the guitar and we all sang Amazing Grace at the graveside as we laid him to final rest to be with the Lord.  It was windy and very blustery and sort of surreal, as I was sort of like the preacher in charge, along with my niece.  It was difficult to get through, but overall it was uplifting in spirit and the sadness was prevailed by the words, memories and music.  In the words of the song, some things, you have to “Let it go, let it go, let it go!”  He will be sorely missed by all.

On a happier note, we can look forward to the New Year!

Yes, it is coming and 2017 promises to have its own surprises and excitement!

We have a new President, Mr. Donald Trump, and we pray that the economy will improve, our military will be rightfully restored and our general posture in the world and at home will take a turn for the better.  Please pray for President Trump and hold him up in your thoughts and prayers.

As we move forward, my prayer for you, is that you will embrace the New Year!  Meet it head on with “Resolution” to accomplish whatever it is that you are pursuing in this new year!  You can make a difference in your life and in the lives of those around you.  This year, we have another chance to do it right!

My closing admonition for you for 2017 is, in the words of John F. Kennedy, who was an avid sailor at Hyannis Point, MA, where he lived:

“Sail and do not lie still in the harbor!”

Good luck in 2017 and God Speed!

How Far Is Christmas 2016

When we were little, it seemed that Christmas would never get here!!!   Now, as we all get older, it seems that we just got through Christmas of last year!

How do we reconcile our ambivalent feelings about this and other events of the year?

For one, I think we really have to “Live in the moment!”  I mean we have to experience the small moments that make up the big moments.  For example, each “Holiday” is a special celebration!  Even if it is “President’s Day” it is a special time for thoughtfulness and reflection.  The same with “The Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas and any other special times you observe, as dictated by your religion or otherwise.

Treat each special time with the respect that it deserves and the time that it deserves.  When you are choosing Christmas presents, choose them with care and deliberation, so that your gift has meaning to you and to the recipient.  Take the time to “Enjoy” the season and its richer meanings!

Actually, before Christians “Christianised” Christmas, as my Pastor once said,

it was simply the time of the Winter Soltice, when the world did not end, but, the days began to be longer again and the evergreen was taken as the sign of  renewed life.   It was a time of joy and celebration for that very reason and later led on to the May Fair and so on.   The Epiphany of the Christ Child as the arrival of the Son of God, as Saviour of the World, also called Twelfth Day would actually not occur until around the 6th of January or so.  Some scholars say much later.

The child would be called “Emmanuel,” meaning God With Us.

How remarkable it is, that God would come down to Earth, in the form of Man to “Save the World!”  So that the world through Him might be saved!

Without getting too “Theological” here, we must each look, see, and listen, and examine our own hearts and minds about this special time of year and what it really means to you and yours.   But, I do think that it is the ultimate expression of God’s Love for Man that he sent His only begotten Son, so that the world through Him might be saved.

In our hearts, we carry the Spirit of Christmas, whatever that meaning is to you.  It does not boast but is humble in the love that pervades its presence!  Reach deep within you and grasp for that wonderful Spirit of Christmas, so that you and the ones around you may experience the deepest Joy of the Season!

Christmas is only that far away!

Merry Christmas!

 

 

Pop and Clara’s

What is in a name, you may say!?!  Just about everything!

In the last few days I have been thinking about all the little businesses that have come and gone in my little community.  For all the reasons that you can think of, they seem to come and go like crazy.  Some are here for only a short time and others are here for decades.

So, I am making a list to reminiscence about some of these often magical places over time!

  • Pop and Clara’s Cafe and Pool Hall – Small little place where all the “bad” guys hung out after school in the pool hall (I think three tables) at 10 cents a game, in the back, behind the little cafe, where you could get a full lunch,  meat and vegetables or some of the best little hamburgers in the world!  Had quiet a reputation, both good and bad!  One time one of the patrons was shot to death behind the pool hall!
  • Taxidermy Store – You could get”stuffed” anything and everything you could imagine!  There were off course a million deer, fox, turkeys, rattlesnakes and you name it!  It did have a rather foul odor most of the time, but was a really unique place to visit!
  • Hardware Store – Everything you could imagine about “Hardware” was there – quite a nice little store.
  • Boxer Training Facility – Learn to box in your spare time or full time.  Professional training available anytime.  Full Boxing Ring and plenty of practice equipment!
  • Barber and Beauty Shops -Multiple shop operators over the years!  Some short time and some long time!  Some of the grow your hair people were here!
  • Electrical and Pipe Store for a Contractor –  Get all your projects done with this electrical and plumbing contractor.
  • Insurance Company – Get your home and auto insurance now!  Several of these!
  • Dental Lab – False Teeth Lab -With one of the most colorful personalities you could ever imagine!  He was very “frank” and actually that was even his name!  Very reasonable in price!
  • Paint Sales & Paint Disposal –  With significant remodeling and new lighting, etc., this became a premier location for all matters of “Paint!”
  • Antiques – Old & New – This was one of the most “quaint” little antique stores anywhere around!  I absolutely loved it and bought many little items there over a period of several years!  But, alas it closed!
  • Cleaners – For the longest time, with a neon “Clock” in the window, so the passing traffic could always tell what time it was!  This business was there for a long time!
  • Appliance Store – All the appliances you would ever need or want!  From new (?) to old or used – you could make a deal and be operating by sundown!
  • Mattress & Furniture -Take your choice – New and used!  In and out everyday!

I am sure I have forgotten some of the businesses that operated out of that “One Location,” a little non-descript building of approximately 1200 sq. ft. fronting on a major U. S. Hwy 78,  in Lithia Springs, Georgia!

For about 62 years, I have been following that building, visiting there, eating there, renting it out, shoveling paper work over its ownership,  writing leases

, fixing septic tanks, repairing major and minor damage, doing dis-possessions sometimes, cleaning up, painting, re-furbishing, roof repairing and everything else you can think of!   This has been one of the little “Business Gems,” if you could call it that, that me and my family have worked with all these years!

Even a little gold mine has to be worked very hard to  produce a little gold, but if you stay with it, it tends to pay off over time!   This is one of those examples you can take to the bank!

Oh, hold on, that’s a call —-   gotta go, the toilet is broken!!!    Again!!!!