Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States.
It is a day to be with Family and Friends.
Wherever you are – enjoy this day and we will see you tomorrow.
His name was “Chopper.”
“Chopper” wasn’t his real name of course. It was a name that he earned in the Military. I knew him after his Army days, but I heard the stories – a few from him directly, but most from his brother. “Chopper” himself was somewhat reticent to talk about his time in Southeast Asia.
“Chopper” was a young Irish boy from Cleveland. He came from a family of Firefighters who lived life like it was a nonstop wedding reception. If something was worth doing – it was worth doing at full speed.
THE OTHER DAY AN ACQUAINTANCE OF MINE moseyed up to me and asked me about the license plate on my car. What is on the car is called a “Vanity Plate” – a customized message for which I pay extra every year.
The plate on the Toyota reads: “KRAFTY.”
My acquaintance asked me what that meant, or to quote him – “What’s that all about?” If we had actually been friends he would have already known.
I explained to him that KRAFTY has been my nickname since childhood. It was a rational play off of my last name. Duh! He then asked me if I had any other nicknames. I didn’t know what he was fishing for, but I played along.
“RING AROUND THE ROSEY, A POCKETFUL OF POSEY
ASHES, ASHES, ALL FALL DOWN.”
According to some sources this old nursery rhyme has come down to us from the time when The Plague – The Black Death – swept through Europe killing millions.
“OK, kiddies, let’s all sing about contagious diseases and mass cremations. Ashes, Ashes – All fall down!”
What brought this to mind was a story in the local newspaper.
“BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER” someone once said. It wasn’t me. I’m the kind of person who actually likes the sound of bagpipe music…in small doses. I once owned a car that was the same color as me – kind of a pasty, sickly, Eastern European – needs to get out more, flesh tone. People used to say that it looked like someone’s elbow coming down the street. So coming to me as an Arbiter of Beauty is risky business.
What brings this all up as a topic of conversation is – Wallpaper.
WHO NEEDS TELEVISION? Who needs movies? Who needs any form of traditional entertainment when you’ve got people walking around? Every day, free of charge, there is a non-stop parade of the Human Animal passing by in all its variety. I almost said, “Passing by in all its Glory,” but Glory is rare in humanity. Variety is a better word to describe the people I see every day.
People Watching is more fun than Movies or TV. With the actors on the screen, who are always good looking and mouthing someone else’s words, they are following a Director’s commands. Their moves are predictable and rarely surprising. However, the folks wandering in front of my astigmatic eyeballs are anything but predictable and continue to surprise me on a daily basis.
The other day I was about to head off from home to take care of some errands and chores around town. I’d already had my morning coffee and I was ready to face the day.
I got into the Toyota and headed down the driveway. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed some motion coming my way. “Oh,” I said to myself. “A dog is coming down the street.” I stopped the car out of sheer courtesy. As the dog approached I again spoke to myself. “Oh, that is one ugly dog.” Then the dog passed right in front of me as I sat in the car. It was then that I spoke to myself yet once more – this time out loud.
ONE OF MY MORNING RITUALS, AFTER SAYING “THANK YOU,” putting on my socks, etc. is to check my email. Most mornings I get about 20 new messages from around the globe. Some are trying to sell me something, some are unleashing thunderbolts of wisdom that have been common knowledge since the 14th century, and some are asking me questions. Some of the questions are philosophical, some are more “religious,” and the rest are in reference to the blog and are your basic “What in the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks are you talking about?”
I MISS THE DAYS when any road trip involved stopping along the way to enjoy all of the wonderful Roadside Attractions. When I was a kid my Dad would pull off the road so we could “ooh” and “ahh” at the Rattlesnake Farm and the World’s Largest Ball of Twine or to stop for a snack at the café that boasted 72 flavors of ice cream.
These days there aren’t as many of those reasons to stop along the way. To find such interesting sights you have to tune into the vibes along the highway and keep your eyes peeled. That is what we’ve been doing while on the road.
IN JUST A FEW DAYS WE WILL BE HEADING SOUTH to attend the NACCC Annual Church Meeting. It is always a good and refreshing time. The delight of seeing old friends – I think that the best word is “Fellowship.” That means more than sitting around with a cool drink and shooting the breeze with everyone.
It is a time to exchange ideas, joys, sorrows, and hopes and plans for the future. It is also a time to recharge the batteries of faith – faith in God, Humanity, ourselves and each other. Time and tribulation can drain our batteries, but this Annual Meeting works to plug us in and reenergize us all for the year ahead.
The chores of daily life draw from our batteries much like accidentally leaving on your car headlights. You may be casting out a light to illuminate the way, but it won’t be long before you find yourself in the dark. The Annual Meeting acts like jumper cables to restart our engines and get us back on the road. Perhaps the old Willie Nelson song, “On The Road Again,” should be added to the Hymnal?
“On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again.
The life I love is making music with my friends.
And I can’t wait to get on the road again.”
“How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see.’
Maybe it’s just me and my life experience, but I see so much in both those songs. Both carry a message of life renewed, rescued from days without joy and bearing the power of the music shared with friends.
Both songs sing of recharging our batteries and seeing our life with renewed energy. Whether you are singing “Amazing Grace” or “On the Road Again,” you are leaving behind the time when life was hard and are entering a time of happiness and energy.
Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia – brace yourself. We are on our way and we can get a little loud at times. There will be a fair amount of singing and laughter. There will be looking back at our past and a lot of looking to the future. There will be joy.
For the first week here it was like living inside a really bad carwash. Now, all of a sudden it feels like a day at the beach might be in order.
Facebook? Philosophical? Two words I never think of being in the same sentence.
I crawled down the street to St. Arbucks, turned on my phone and the first thing I saw was not another cute cat picture or a snapshot of somebody’s breakfast, but someone asking the Universe a question.
“What if it is my destiny to be alone?”
WHO SAYS WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE SOCIABLE? We can be just as sociable as any other group of semi-civilized men who spend their Golden Years discussing the important issues of the day: Which was better – “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” or “The Bionic Woman?”
The “Usual Suspects” as I call them, or my “Play Group” as my wife, the lovely and sarcastically fine tuned, Dawn, calls them, hold our meetings in the Chapel at St. Arbucks almost every morning over coffee.
A FRIEND OF MINE recently posted a video on Facebook of her singing at a local bar on “Karaoke Night.” She was pretty good. She was also a bit tipsy by her own admission. Personally, I find the whole concept of Karaoke somewhat disturbing.
The entire thing that is “Karaoke” – Japanese for “Empty Orchestra,” is a fairly recent creation according to an article I read in a magazine. They date its beginning to 1970 in Osaka, Japan and a musician name Daisuke Inoue (which is Japanese for, “I can’t sing either.”)
For close to 50 years now slightly tipsy people around the world have been getting up and singing “Purple Rain” and “Let’s Get It On” in front of a room filled with other slightly tipsy people.
FOR THE LAST SIX MONTHS (AT LEAST) WE’VE HAD A MAJOR CHANGE take place in our television viewing habits. I think that this change has come about because of two things; Online services such as Netflix and Hulu among a number of others have begun to air some new and very creative programming. Just about everyone else has been wallowing in a Political Stew that has been tasteless, without any real meat, and triggering my gag reflex.
So, we were faced with a choice: Enjoy some new and excellent programs or endure sphincter clenching broadcast venom.
Not a difficult decision – let someone else watch all the stuff with zombies.
I used to drive in Sports Car Road Rallies and for a while I flew Sailplanes – two ways to burn up income faster than was rational. Now that I’m retired I have taken up the cheapest of all hobbies: People Watching. I wish I had started doing this years ago. It would have saved me a lot of money and rescued me from a diet heavy on Ramen Noodles.