hafacenturyncounting

Motivated by a lack of material.

Archive for the month “June, 2013”

Bittersweet

This is about trying to understand what life has in store for you and where you stand. I want you to live forever; as long as you can live the way I know makes you, you. If you knew tomorrow was your last day on Earth what would you differently? Moreover, what would you do?

I watched as yet another display of anger came spewing out. I am so close it is hard to remain silent and indifferent, but you know what you know. When you are in a no win situation do you really get any comfort in,”Well at least I said what was on my mind”? Anger possesses characteristics of a disease; it eats away at you, it builds on weakness, and finally if it is allowed to go untreated it destroys.

I thought about my own hurt and anger. I have been challenged this June. I try to stay positive, but there are moments that no matter what I tell myself I just want to cry. I feel the tears well and burn in my eyes, the lump forms in my throat. I believe the only one who can make me feel better is no longer around and I hurt some more. Indulge me as I lament.

However, this is called “Bittersweet”, I have to bring something light, positive and uplifting to this and make a connection. Trust me this is a task, because I am wallowing. Living each day as though it were your last and you knew as much. My friends on the west coast reminded me of summer jazz concerts, I had to go back to the days of the ones held in San Diego, they of course were talking about the ones held annually at the Hollywood Bowl. There was talk of dancing in the aisles, great music, good food, and strangers sharing their “whatever”. That made me smile, I recalled the sharing.

In a big crowd of people, who don’t know one another, the common link makes them feel like, “I want to connect with whomever I get in the area of”. Our human antennae go up and we are sensitive to what is around us; there is so much around us that we don’t know where to start our search, it makes us want to dance and sing and connect. Then there is the intimate setting of your home watching her favorite Disney cartoon; her favorite song plays and she beckons, no she insists you get up and dance with her, without a second thought you do what she wants, because she gets you, you are as elated as she is, you are connected .

We have all traveled down these roads before and undoubtedly will make more  trips before our life on this planet is over. I have long since gotten beyond being angry at God for taking precious wonderful beings away from me, now I have to work on being able to cope with the lonely aching that is certain to follow. The void for these dear ones, that only they themselves can fill.  One solution may come in the form of being sure to go ahead and immerse yourself in loved ones and happy moments, in order to have something to draw from later.

June Gloom

Southern Californians know this term ever so well. It is a reference to the cloudy gray mornings we experience during the early summer month. This particular June as I sit in my Georgia home I am experiencing the gloom for another reason. I am suffering from a case of change with complications arising from loss.

I often have spoken of change and how we have to embrace it for there is no progress with out it and so-on. I am telling you that I am resisting the changes I have experienced lately with unrelenting determination. I want so much to retreat to that which is familiar, I need my safe haven, and I want to return to that which I know.

Earlier in the week I was told of the passing of a long time friend of my family. A lady who I have know for some 20 plus years. I went to school with her children, watched her grandchildren become adults and parents themselves. She is a part of my history, those of us who grew up on 107th Street have a connection the equivalent of a bloodline. She was a neighbor, she was a friend, she was family and she IS loved.

Not 24 hours earlier I was calling to check on my dear friend, who I haven’t known as many years, but in emotional ties the bond is unquestionable, only to be told she had suffered a fall which hospitalized her and the prognosis is NOT what I would want it to be. Her children a source of pure joy, her seven grandsons jewels in her crown of pride, and of course her best friend/ companion/ love for 65 years; I do not have words to express what it feels like to be in the company of a life fulfilled, after knowing this lady for such a short time. I shared a little prayer I say when I am drawing on my faith with my dear friend’s precious daughter.  “Not my will oh Lord but Yours”.

Trying not to cry, I want to say something about these two ladies I love. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have had them in my life. I don’t question the Lord but I do wonder what did I do to gain such favor to have Him put these special people in my life. Unfortunately, I would be lying if I said I completely understand why He decided to take them from me when He did.  I know there are Christians who would tell me that I am toying with the “Wrath of Hell” saying such things but God is all knowing..  Therefore He is quite aware of my state.

God gives us balance, not everything is one way, although at times we cannot see beyond our circumstances. My younger brother reached his milestone half century mark, thankfully he joined the ranks of us that talk in decades instead of years, and laugh about it. Father’s Day is  less than an hour and a half away on the east coast; a day when we pay homage to the men in our lives that have inspired and supported us like no other. All this midst “June Gloom”.

All of these things are/have been made possible because of God. Tonight when I say my prayers I will thank Him for all he has done for me, blessings He has bestowed, people He has put in my path, and I shall ask Him for strength to endure the things that present themselves to me that I think I would much rather not encounter. Tonight I will ask Him to care for these two beautiful ladies and their loving families in ways only He can. Through all of this I know I will be okay with time, but I know one day someone will be praying for me because it may NOT seem as though I will in fact be alright on that particular occasion.

In closing,”Trust in the Lord”.

Father Figure

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY.

If you are never special to any other man in this life, on this Earth you have your father. The tallest, smartest, most gallant, and did I mention handsome man you will ever lay eyes on; that is until you meet the other true love of your life and of whom your father will generally threaten with an inch of his life if he dares to hurt you.

To his son he is given the “heir apparent” treatment, as though he is the future king of a country, no matter what his Earthly material possessions be. He gives lessons on bravery, honor, trust and DIY projects. His shoes seem so massive that you know you will never be that large; then one day you wake up and you are fitting into those shoes, as though they were custom made to fit you.

No joke, on the heels of the premier of the movie “Man Of Steel” perhaps you have a real life “Superman” in your presence and you know him personally. He lives up to his legend and like the legend he has only one weakness.  No matter how much time passes, no matter how invincible he may seem, he cowers in vulnerability as this weakness will always appears to him in the form of the small helpless being that “he” in fact simply marvels at, his child. Let him know that it is alright to be vulnerable for that is part of love; love he has taught you and love you feel for him on this day, and every day since the day you laid eyes on one another.

Again I say, “HAPPY FATHER’S DAY  to all the fathers everywhere; for no matter what space they occupy otherwise, there is always one reserved in our hearts.

The First Thing I’m Going To Do Is…

Gasping for breath, holding my chest I listened to the numbers for the 5th time! OH SHIT!! IT’S HAPPENED!! I looked around the room wildly no one heard me though the sound of the house fan was overwhelming. I won, I friggin play the lottery every day but this time I won. I sat in my office marinating. What to do next. I wanted to call my wife, she has been such a bitch lately. I wanted to rub it in her face with that smirk of hers. I bet her attitude will change now. Why am I sitting here in 90 degree temperatures with no air conditioning, when I just won 114 million dollars. I think I will get a room in Buckhead. I have a lot of decisions to make. I know what I want to do first though.

I have lived quite the life. There have been a lot of women.  Four wives; three exes, one “barking up that same tree”. My current one tells me I don’t like women Seven children and what could I say about them. Two I could say with absolution were NOT mine due to the fact their respective mothers had them before they met me. Out of the other five, based on how I felt about their respective mothers during our relationships, three would get a fairly certain “yes those are mine” without DNA testing. The other two now I want documented proof, bring on the swabs.

I tried to play by the rules, being a family man. Including family in business ventures only to have THEM screw things up. Now I only have two siblings left, good thing. I will give them some money, enough so they won’t have to worry about anything the rest of their lives. I have to take care of the nieces and nephews as well. I will have a meeting with them all. fly them to a central location. Spell out the rules of getting this money then I am off.

Janie, my wife, walks in the room looking for something; she glances over at the lotto ticket, rolls her eyes up in her head and says, ” Win anything today?” I reply,” 114 million”. “Ooh good we can get the air-conditioning fixed”, and she walks out of the room shaking her head. What am I gonna do with her? She has changed so much lately, I don’t even know her. She was an attractive, sexy, young woman when she walked onto the dealership floor 30 years ago and we had some good times. Now she sleeps with her back to me. I still think she is attractive and sexy, but she doesn’t try to be either one anymore.

We rarely have conversations, she always has something smug to say or she argues with me. I tell her “I love her” and if she says “I love you” it is  obligatory. I feel her lying to me, I feel her contempt, I feel her disappointment and disdain, but she never says a word. I ask her why she stays and she doesn’t answer. I wonder if she knows. I wonder if I had anything to do with that.

I get up from the desk and tell her, ” I am going to the store”. I hesitate, “Do you want me to bring you anything back?” She replies ,” No thanks”.

The store is  around the corner, I sit in the parking lot wondering what to do, what is my life going to be like now that money will no longer be an issue? I am 75,  I have had a lot of things in my life, but what is life all about. Dear God you wait until I am too old to really enjoy this money to give it too me. What am I thinking I am in good health, I have a family that I think, no I am sure they love me. I am going to give them some happiness. I can see Janie’s face. When I get home I will tell her to get dressed, we are going out somewhere special. I will tell her I won a nice amount of money and I want to celebrate with her. I want to make her happy, if I can, I think.

Imagining how I would feel did not scratch the surface. I walked into the store and saw one of our familiar clerks, Laurie. I was alone at the counter and I said softly to her, ” I am pretty sure I won quite a bit, please don’t tell anyone.” She asked,” Over 600.00?” She said very calmly, “Oh great.” She had no idea. Okay you have to fill out a claim form at the GLC office and she gave me a slip of paper that had all the info on it. I thanked her and she said softly “Congratulations”. As I walked away  I thought of doing something terribly cliche’ like retiring one of my favorite store clerks for selling me the winning ticket.

I came up the stairs and Janie was  cleaning out the cat’s liter box. She never looked up as she said, “Did you collect our 114 million so I can have the new maid do this.” I waited until she was where she could see my ticket and the slip that had the winning numbers on it. “What’s this”, she asked. Then she picked up both and read the numbers off one by one. She dropped them both and said, “OH SHIT!! IT HAPPENED!!

She grabbed me around the neck and squealed with excitement, she planted  kiss after kiss on my face and neck, I couldn’t breath at one point, I had to calm her down. Now what really happened: She looked at me with a question on her face and I just smiled. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I didn’t expect that reaction.  I took her hands and looked into her eyes; then I saw a twinkle of happiness, but the question peaked quietly around the happy.

“What do you want to do first”, I said. She replied, “Wow, I don’t know I am still trying to digest this. What do you want to do?” We had gone through some rocky times, but I really loved Janie. She was very different now. I could see the stress was taking it’s toll on her. Now I can get her back to what she used to be. I can see a smile on her face again. I thought about all the things I wanted to buy her, all the things I wanted to give her, then I realized I had no idea what she wanted. I began to understand the question on her face, I didn’t know this woman. How could I make her happy.

I watched her walk across the room and sit down.This was certainly no way for two new multi-millionaires to be acting. I sat next to her and she faked a smile. She then said, ” Well you got what you wanted. You finally won. I am happy for you.” Now the question had moved to my face because it was definitely in my heart. I looked at her and asked her, “What are you saying, you’re happy for me? Aren’t you happy for us?” She shook her head and then replied,” Howard I am not for sale, I never have been. I feel the word FOOL sounding off in my head, but I have to be honest. We have gone through a lot and I have stuck with you. Now you don’t need me and you will be set for life. You can go, do, be everything you have always talked about and there is no one and virtually nothing to stand in your way. Me, I ‘m a simple being. I just want some happy, I just want some peace of mind.”

I asked her, What are you saying? You don’t want to be with me? My voice was getting loud. The anger was building.” All women are the same”, I thought. She responded, ” Howard you don’t want to be with me, and that’s okay. I will not live wondering where you are, what you are doing, and who you are doing it with. I have already lived that without the money. I will not go to bed every night and wonder if I will wake up to divorce papers every morning. If I walk away or better yet if you walk away now I will never know what I missed, but I will have my sense of self. The surprised look on your face tells me, I am not wrong about what I am saying.” She stood up and gave me a half smile. “I used to love you, you made me stop, money won’t bring that back”, she said and then she went down the stairs to toss the cat liter away.

This was crazy. A few years ago.. then I stopped. Is Janie right about me? She knows me better than I know myself. Funny now I really want to be married and I don’t think she does. Al this money I can find someone who will make me think she wants to be with me, but the truth is I will never know. Janie is who I want; I can show her now, I can do all the things I couldn’t do before for her. She’ll change her tune when she sees what is available to her.

On the way to fill out the paperwork to collect the money Janie was quiet. She, although a very different being of late, could not stop talking under normal circumstances. We walked into the office and went to a window to get information. I handed the form to Janie to fill out, sometimes she would protest or have an annoyed look on her face, today she was solemn. The woman taking care of us recited her lines flawlessly ending the dissertation with, “Your money will be available to you in 5 to 7 business days.”

Then the madness began. The big check was brought out by the staff, the photographers were out in full force along with the press. We were directed to an area so the photo could be taken. Janie was reluctant. How could she act this way, was she really trying to rain on my parade like this? I looked into her face and saw the question again, this time I could read it, it said, ” Do you really want ME here, NOW”.  I grabbed her, I kissed her like I used to many years ago, she could feel my emotion and my love for her, I felt it come back. The cameras flashed. I said to her, ” We’re going to Disneyland!” Then she smiled at me.

Landing Among The Stars

I remember listening to Les Brown several years ago and hearing him say something during one of his sessions something very similar to what I used for this posts title. Motivational speakers are a phenomenon, their words can make you believe and aspire to do great things. Thus their name and their job.

I want to talk about another motivator. We human beings need a push sometimes, we need reminders of why we exist and why we must go one. Each of us have these catalyst in our lives, yet we often do not realize it until we suffer loss. Then it comes crashing in on us how very mush these people mean and we wonder how we will go on.

My take is this God provides us with everything we need, wonder gifts, but he does require you to reach out and grab these gifts for yourself. These gifts are  in the forms of mothers, fathers, children, grandchildren, teachers, friends and a host of so many other people He puts in our lives. Sometimes when things are not going not so good we forget the fact that we have these fabulous individuals  all around us to help in ways we cannot always imagine, and the other things that we think are so pressing are very miniscule by comparison.

One day they get another call from the Lord, and they leave us here to continue what we need to do.  We feel hurt, frightened, desperate, and alone. We wonder why God took them from us, how can we go on without this person right here where we can see, them touch them, love them. They were here for us because He put them here to help prepare us for what we need to do. As any good parent, and “good” cannot begin to describe what God is, their job is to prepare you to stand on your own. These loved ones of whom we all will one day lose, only go when He says so and when He feels like we are ready to what we need to do without them. Their task is done here but that does not mean you don’t have their love anymore. You have been the recipient of their gifts and you are the product thereof. Think of them in the same sense as a metamorphosis; same as you, the change is taking place, and you must move to the next level.

When you look up at the sky and see the stars twinkling back at you remember Les’ words ” Shoot for the moon, because if you miss you’ll still land among the stars”; know up there among those stars is  your loved one, still there watching over you in wonderful company, you were their “moon”, and you are never really without them because they remain in your heart.

Angels All Around Us

Here we go again, it is nearing summer; the temperatures rise and makes things miserable for people who suffer from Sickle Cell Disease.  It is very hard on the SCD patient physically, but for the ones who love them the devastating affects are emotional.  Doctor’s offices and emergency rooms become the havens of a love/hate relationship that has undoubtedly been going on as long as they can remember.

Great they are admitting you, again the feelings of a mixed blessing. You have no idea for how long this time, but that is generally the case. In the midst of the hurt, with the sounds of the machines, and medications which are keeping you going, there she is in the doorway.  She went out of her way, took time from her schedule, from her family to stop by to see you. She didn’t bring anything with her, except maybe SUNSHINE. Laughter returned to you; her presence made you concentrate on something other than your pain, other than what you are going through.

Who is she? A few short months ago you didn’t even know her; today she brings you a gift that a lifetime often does not always offer, a true demonstration of friendship. She says, “That’s what friends are for, that’s what friends do”. To you she is a godsend, the oasis in the desert. I wholeheartedly agree, God sent her. Common everyday people doing uncommon and amazing things.They are confirmation the He is with you and He loves you. Maybe when you are on your feet again, you can return the favor, paying it forward to someone else that needs some sunshine in their room, in their life. For now a simple “Thank you, God bless you”, will do.

Love Always

This is about the one you left behind. Sit back and enjoy the ride, join me on a trip down memory lane.

His was a smile that was literally sunlight, I feel myself blushing as I recall the first time we kissed. I feel so silly because I still talk to this guy, we are friends; bound by the romanticized experiences of our youth and the knowledge that had we really gotten together I probably would not have a smile plastered on my face as I talked or wrote about us.

Now you positively will not get the details, this is a fill-in-the-blanks type deal left for you to DIY about yourself and your individual situation. I am only serving as a tour guide, suggesting points of interest to visit. He, however, set the standard for any and every man who followed. That is until I finally got him out of my system. It took years.

I know of  a few couples who have been married for decades now, I know a few couples who are happy, but I venture to say among them  all, I may know two who actually fall into both categories. One must applaud the effort it takes to maintain a marriage. Maybe they, like so many of us, still have a warm spot in their hearts for the one who “got away”. Maybe they, again like so many of us, thank their lucky stars that this very same special person did just that,”GOT AWAY”. Whatever the case may be, here is yet another memory to pack away in your mind for safe keeping.

When you do pull “it” out, when you look back, when you recall this source of joy and pain give yourself a break; the imagined expectation of a happy, love filled relationship was just not meant to be. As you think of the romance, think of what ended it, and realize life generally moves in the direction it is suppose to, whether we like it or not. If you’re lucky, like I am, you have a friend you can “love always”.

Chili Dogs, Lemonade, and Waffle Cones

Yes summertime is here! The temperatures indicate it and my cravings confirm it. Before 10 A.M. I am thinking about my favorites. Now mind you I haven’t had a chili dog in about a year, because as much as I love hot dogs I know the nutritional value is null and void, plus you have to factor in the addiction quality and the ever expanding waistline. The waffle cone and lemonade, well that’s a whole different story.

Food memories taking you back to a place you may miss more than you know. Today I feel like frozen yogurt for breakfast, not because we ate frozen yogurt or ice cream for breakfast, but it takes me to a place where someone who would think of such a menu would not be deemed as shocking or irresponsible or even silly. Plus with the frozen yogurt I can excuse and substitute to a point, where my analysis/explanation actually makes sense.

Remember when three months out of the year all you had to do was go outside, play, and not destroy anything; at least anything that could be traced back to you. Along came adulthood and responsibility to mess everything up.  We have to eat right, obey rules, and go to work for the pleasure of being tied to this rule infested place.

We are “little kids” trapped in a land that offers certain freedoms on one hand, but those same freedoms are hidden by walls of responsibility. Summertime weighs heavy on our minds. Two weeks or even a weekend is a sought after commodity, but it is clouded by the rapidly approaching end, that is clearly in sight. Yet for whatever time we have we wear outfits a bit too tight and too young, run( or a reasonable facsimile there of) around the water in “speedos”, and drink stuff that gives us way more than a “sugar high”. Well so…  We are charter members of the IDGAK Club. After all what good does it do you to live a long life, if you don’t stop and have a chili dog along the way.

All Us In Wander Land

There is tremendous stock placed in having a plan. Plan for  your future, plan for your business, plan for life. To succeed you must have a systematic map set in place. However, it doesn’t always go like that. We do not control all the other elements that may or may not affect our plans. What happens then when something gets in your way and alters the course of action/plan you derived? Better yet what happens when you don’t even have a plan.

Wandering aimlessly through life, you just may bump into something that will carry you  through to a meaningful existence. I do not by any means suggest this method, this is merely an observation. I can think of a time  or times when I really had no idea what to do next. What did I do? I improvised. Our society seems ill-equipped to handle surprises or to seek an alternate solution, because we are so busy looking for the easy way out. The fastest, simplest, least challenging way to obtain anything, that’s what we want. Oh but now it needs to be quality. Yes I am over simplifying this however, there are some truths hidden in this wit.

What to do when faced with a dilemma that you have no way to conquer. You do not have the knowledge you, do not have the resources. What you have is the awareness that you cannot see your way clear. You also may be painfully aware that you are tired of the battle. Children wish their problems away, adults face their problems; they have no choice, but oh how they wish for the child’s solution/escape clause. Draw upon that which you KNOW you have and see what you come up with, then maybe you will have some good solid advice to share with someone else wondering about, searching for a solution or purpose. Trust me on this, the answer is there you just have to discover it. Therefore, I’ll let you know how I make out.

It All Began With A Lie

Let’s talk about “skeletons in the closet”. It’s origins in 19th Century England, the phrase has been tied to of course the shame/secrets of an individual or family that would be disastrous if discovered. Also from a more literal sense actual discovery of a body in a wall or  other uncommon place.

Here I am on an early Sunday morning talking about something that has made people cower in corners or at the very least expect their entire lives will be ruined, FOREVER. Premarital sex, okay I will say it simply because it is true I had it. There now what? I will not detail whether it was a source of pain or pleasure, whether it ruined or made my life, nor will I commit to “If I had it to do all over again…” how would I finish the statement. I am off and running.

I knew there were laws on the books about premarital sex, they reside under decency and morality umbrellas. After a brief thumb-through I found there were some 18 states that went so far as to tell you what position you could have sex in, oral sex was forbidden in several carrying a sentence of up to 20 years in Georgia, and even one state(Nevada, but no wonder) telling individuals they must use a condom.  Oklahoma does win the “kewpie doll” as being the state which actually does forbid premarital sex. Yes I am going to make light of this because if it is left up to the state or anyone besides an individual and their consenting adult partner/spouse what position is/is not permissible, I think most would agree they would have not to make it illegal, folks would just throw in the towel and say “forget it”.  However, one might even find the offenders to be so prevalent the prisons would become a popular, and in some instances a desired spot. Okay I said I was making light of this so “lighten up”!

Now we have to touch on the religious aspect. Sodom and Gomorrah come to mind first, then we have the beloved King David. Those of you even slightly familiar with the Bible, know why these three were chosen as a reference point. Therefore it is safe to say people have sex; they have been having it for a very long time, they lie about it, but the truth eventually comes out. Finally the setup is complete the skeleton, the law, and the Bible.

Pregnant, unmarried, under 21, and this is circa 1959 to 1964; if he’s a decent guy he will marry you whether or not it was his plan, but he just happens to NOT be.Now comes the reveal; it was a fling, you two were having fun, he’s married(or so he tells you) with children, and does not want more. The bottom line is, young lady, you are on your own. Your options are limited and relatively dangerous during this era.

The baby comes and you are bitter; your life is a struggle because you got caught when others doing the same thing did not. What you have done is a sin. Who will marry you now? You must put aside the thoughts of “YOU” and deal with the baby. At a time when there should be celebration of a new life there is an impending feeling of shame, despair, and doom.

Meantime, he goes on relatively unscathed. His children grow up with a father in the household, their mother his wife has the respect of her family and community. He got a pass, like so many others before him, like so many who will come after him. Sometimes he wonders about the young woman he was involved with, the one who was “tainted” because of him. However, he must cast those thoughts aside rapidly for HIS life could become undone should any of that experience come to light.

Yet there is a person left behind; a person who will one day wonder “why am I the only one who doesn’t have a father at the PTA meeting”, or a person who wonders “why are my eyes green and my hair curly when my brothers and sisters are straight-haired with brown eyes”. People wonder who they are, where they came from; it is this curious drive, the need to connect, that will lead them to and down a road of discovery, which may or may not end pleasantly for the parties involved.

In essence to say the man, the young woman, the predicament is one as old as the age of time is a gross understatement. Therefore, you either know of or have someone in your family who has a similar story in your past, present, or future. Judgmental people keep this story going; yes the cast changes, the circumstances alter a bit, but all-in-all the story is the same. One day there is a knock on the front door, a letter comes in the mail, or there is a phone call.  A closet door opens and here it comes, the skeleton, crashing down onto the floor scattering into hundreds of pieces. The lie is catching up. Be careful of the little seeds you plant in the dark, they grow, and appear in the light of day.

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