Say, Your Ties Are Loose

 

But, last night, I thought, what is a family, anyway? They’re just people who make you feel less alone, and really loved.

Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore), “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”

 

So, when was the last time you spoke with certain members of your family? The ones you’ve been meaning to contact, but time just got away from you?

Yeah, it’s been awhile for me, too.

I have tried, in the past, to reconnect with some family members I haven’t spoken to or heard from in years, with very little success. It seems, at times, like I’m the only one trying to reach out. Nobody wants to reach me.

That’s how it feels, anyway.

Now, please understand me. I don’t blame anyone for this condition. I fully realize, we all have our own lives to lead, with our own schedules and activities and appointments and such. We’re all busy; I get it. And that’s good. We shouldn’t just be sitting around, watching weeds grow.

And I’m sure, in some cases, we simply don’t know how to get ahold of each other, or we surely would.

Besides, trust me, I let the time get away from me, as well.

But…I don’t know, I just wish we were all closer to each other. Maybe with age, there comes an undercurrent of urgency, a keener awareness of the sands of time running out, and a greater need to connect.

Plus, doggone it, I miss these folks. They’re blood, they’re family. I’m tied to them. Part of all of them is in me, and vice versa.

And, I’d prefer to not wait until someone’s funeral to catch up with them. That’s how it usually works, sadly.

Is it like this with your family?

If it isn’t, if you’re all in close contact with each other and the ties are strong, bless you; I admire you. (And envy you, a little)

If it is, perhaps it’s time to ask yourself, as I am, “What am I doing to get us closer together? Do I need to just quit waiting for someone else to take the lead? What if I keep waiting until it’s too late?”

That would be a crying shame. Literally.

So, I’m just going to have to work harder at this. I can’t help but think it’ll be worth it. Whether they want to hear from me or not, if I can help it, they’re going to. And hopefully, I’ll hear back from them.

 

One other thing: Even when we don’t correspond as often as we probably should, I still know I’m extraordinarily lucky to be part of a family that I love, and that loves me. If you’re alone, and have no family, or you have the kind you’d just as soon never hear from, my heart goes out to you. I can’t even begin to imagine how that must feel. I can only hope that you can find a family somewhere, a group of loving, caring people you can be a part of.

The essence of why we’re all here, I believe, is to give and receive love. Don’t cheat yourself out of it.

 

Don’t Blink, You’ll Miss 33 Years

 

July 7th. A searing hot, typical Texas summer Saturday.

That morning, I went and washed my car, a clunker with a squeaky fan belt.

That afternoon, I married the girl of my dreams.

All in all, a darn good day.

After the reception, we changed into our travelin’ clothes, ran the traditional Gauntlet of Rice, climbed into my clunker with the squeaky fan belt, flashed our biggest smile for the photographer, and drove off under the blazing sun, on our way to the much more pleasant climes of Vail, Colorado.

Our life together, like the Colorado Rockies, lay stretched out before us…

 

And then, thirty-three years happened.

Just like that. I swear to you, just like that.

I don’t mean to be cliche, but honestly, had I known it would go by this fast, I would have tried to enjoy it more. I would have squeezed more juice from the sweet, luscious fruit of life. (oh, brother, let’s just stop here, okay?)

Still, the time moved just slowly enough for me to gather a whole basket load of wonderful memories, which I will cherish all my days.

And that cute girl standing next to me on that July 7th afternoon has been right there beside me through everything, good and bad, funny and sad, easy and tough. And I couldn’t be happier, or luckier.

Happy Anniversary, darling. I love you more every fleeting year. Thank you for being my wife.

Alright, All You Mothers!

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Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!

We all owe our lives to you. Without you, there is no us.

So, thank you for going through the exquisite pain of bringing us into the world, and the more excruciating pain of bringing us up.

Sometimes, we wouldn’t listen to you. Sometimes, we willfully disobeyed you. Sometimes, we openly defied you. And occasionally, we just hated you. Maybe even told you so.

But, through all those times, deep down, we always loved you.

Because, we sat in your lap while you read to us. We played games and sang silly songs with you. We settled into our beds while you tucked us in and kissed us goodnight. We ran to you with our skinned knees, bloody noses, bee stings and broken hearts, knowing you would make it all better, as only you could.

Some of you are just amazing. All you single mothers, who do your best to fit a job (or more) in with the daily care and feeding of your children. All you moms who adopt children and welcome them into your family, loving them as though they were your own. All you “soccer moms,” endlessly shuttling your kids to this activity and that one, so they can have fun with other kids and get yelled at by all the insane parents.

Unfortunately, some of you have gone through the most painful experience there is: burying your child. You’ve lost them to disease, or to violence or, more and more lately, to suicide. I absolutely can’t imagine how deeply that must cut into your soul. I know you miss them every single day, and would sacrifice anything to bring them back. I’m so very sorry for you and your families. I wish you comfort and strength.

Bottom line, all of you are just extraordinary women, and you have certainly earned your own day. I hope you spend it in the company of your children.

Mothers around the world, I salute you. Many, many blessings on you all.

Looking With a Different Eye

 

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Okay, kids, here’s a fun little experiment for you to do:

Look at some object in the distance. Focus on it. Then, close one eye, hold up your thumb and position it so that it blocks your view of that object.

Got it? Great! Now, without moving the thumb, close that eye and open the other one.

Holy smokes! What just happened??

The object didn’t move, the thumb didn’t move, everything stayed the same. Only now, that object is right out there in plain view. Cool!

Yeah, I know, it’s nothing you didn’t already know, what else ya got, this was lame, yada, yada, yada…

But, really, how much of your time did that just take up, a few seconds?

And it’s a good reminder of how different the same picture can appear when viewed from a different eye.

 

One of the toughest things in the world to change is…an attitude. Especially the longer you cling to it, and the more comfortable you get with it. To change the way you look at something is risky, but oftentimes necessary.

One of the symptoms of depression, which I’ve had for years, is the tendency to get easily irritated by everyone and everything. All the time. Little things can just drive you nuts.

I’m around certain people, on a regular basis, who say things and do things that aggravate me to no end. Sometimes, I dread even being around them, for that very reason; I know I’m gonna get annoyed. 😠

Which is sad, considering they’re family.

I realize, I need to look at them with a different eye. They simply are what they are. The picture will not change; my view has to. Instead of resenting their idiosyncrasies, I need to accept them, to embrace them. I need to remember, these are people I love, that I’m glad I have them in my life, that it’s important to cherish the time we spend together, as long as we have it.

Besides, I know I’m definitely no day at the beach, either.

So, to whom it may concern:

Just a reminder, I love you all dearly. I’m glad you’re here. I will work on getting annoyed by you less and appreciating you more, because you are family, and family is priceless.

I’ll try to be less of a pain, too. Thanks for tolerating me, in the meantime.

Now, to the rest of you:

If you find yourself around some family members over the holidays who stir up the same emotions, try your best at looking through a different eye at them. I know, it’ll be tough. Remember, they didn’t get to pick you, either. Family is, or at least, should be, a refuge in the turbulent storms of life. We need each other, now more than ever.

Then maybe, we can summon up the courage to train that different eye on the rest of the world, and see something we never did before.

Who knows what can happen, then?

Oh, yeah…you can put your thumb down, now. 😏

 

Pass the Antacids

 

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Thanksgiving Day is approaching, America. 🦃  The time of year to reflect on things and people in your life to be thankful for; chief among them, elastic waistbands.

Because, no doubt, you’re gonna be shoveling in a lot of tasty food. If your family is like mine, they make absolutely certain there is no possibility whatsoever of running out of vittles. Even if a hundred guests come over.

I’m reasonably sure Thanksgiving is a holiday that was created by the makers of Rolaids.

Anyways, as you gather this year with the ones you love, (or the ones you don’t, but were forced to be with, anyway) here are a few things on which to ponder:

Exactly who and what am I thankful for?

If they’re people, do I ever tell them I’m thankful for them?

Am I thankful all the time, or just one day a year?

Do I ever give anyone reason to be thankful for me?

Am I sure I’ve got no room for one more slice of pie?

Where has Dak Prescott been all my life? (Go, Cowboys!!)

Seriously, though, I hope all of you get to spend some quality time with people who are special to you, and truly enjoy the pleasure of each other’s company. (Might want to avoid the political discussions this year, though. 😬) If you’re driving somewhere, be careful on the road. If you’re flying somewhere, I sincerely hope you have no baggage to claim. If everybody’s coming to your place, stock up on Charmin.

 

One thing you should NOT be thankful for: retail stores that start their Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day.

All those workers deserve a day home with their families, and to deny them that is to demonstrate just how greedy and heartless these retailers are. I’m not giving any of them my business on Thursday, and I hope you don’t, either.

In fact, why don’t we just eliminate Black Friday, altogether? I mean, nearly every one of them begins with some poor shopper getting trampled to death by a mob in front of a store when it opens its doors. It’s just insane. Honestly, stores, if you’re that dependent on one really big sales day, your prices are obviously too freakin’ high the rest of the year.

Put that on your register and scan it!

 

Well, enough about that, friends. I’d like to wish y’all a Happy (urp) Thanksgiving. 🙂

Don’t let the grandkids club each other with the turkey legs.🍗

And if liquor is part of your celebration, please designate a driver so everyone stays safe.

Bless you all. I’m putting on my stretch pants.

 

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The Secret

 

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Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.

You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines.

“Time”, Pink Floyd

Songwriters
ANDREW WRIGHT, SIMON SMITH

Published By
Lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

First time I heard those words, I was 14 or 15 years old. I didn’t grasp the significance of them back then, obviously.

I sure do, now.

I recently wrote a post about commemorating yet another birthday, and I alluded at one point to how getting old scares me a bit, so I should probably explain myself. You may not want to read on unless you’re really happy today, because this one’s a bit of a downer.

I see my folks, they’re getting old
And I watch their bodies change
I know they see the same in me
And it makes us both feel strange
No matter how you tell yourself
It’s what we all go through
Those eyes are pretty hard to take
When they’re staring’ back at you

“Nick of Time”, Bonnie Raitt

Songwriters

BONNIE RAITT

Published By
Lyrics © BONNIE RAITT

First of all, and I know this is going to sound so shallow, but have you seen what old people look like? With their wrinkled up faces and age spots on their hands and turkey wattles on their necks? I know, I know, I’m sorry, I really am, but I just can’t envision myself looking like that. Not me. My hair is definitely grayer, and there’s less of it than there used to be, but I’ve accepted that, more or less. Those other cosmetic changes are gonna be much harder to face.

But, it’s not just the looks; it’s the health. I dread what the future holds for this steadily deteriorating shell I walk around in. Will I get slowed down by arthritis? Will I be felled by a debilitating stroke, like my father, and bedridden for the last years of my life? Or will my worst fear come true, and Alzheimer’s slowly and mercilessly steal my mind, piece by piece?

It’s stuff like this that, whenever somebody says getting old “beats the alternative”, makes me think, “Are you sure?”

And, yeah, I know, none of those things may happen; I may just get hit by a truck, instead.

But, I’m the kind of guy who thinks, my life has gone pretty well so far, something’s gotta happen sometime to screw it up. The Law of Averages dictates that the scales eventually have to tip the other way.

What can I say? It’s how I roll.

 

Truthfully, though, I think the worst part of getting older is how everyone else gets older. So, the older I get, the more funerals I’ll be attending. Funerals of friends and family members. People I’ve known and loved for years, for decades, for pretty much my whole life. I want to keep them around forever; I don’t want to say goodbye to any of them, and it will seriously break my heart when I have to. I am really not looking forward to that part.

I mean, I know that’s all just part of it; we’re born, we live, we get old and die. That’s how this thing works. It’s never bothered me as much as it has lately, though. I know, I should probably just shut up and accept what’s coming, because it certainly doesn’t come only to me.

Just feels like it, sometimes, that’s all.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

“Time”, Pink Floyd

Songwriters
ANDREW WRIGHT, SIMON SMITH

Published By
Lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

On the bright side, though, friends, (yes, there is one) I am working towards reconciliation of these issues, because I know a life lived in fear and dread is really no life. It’ll just take some time for me to reach the state where I can believe what singer James Taylor said years ago:

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time

“Secret O’ Life”, James Taylor

That’s the goal for me. Hope I attain it. Sooner, as opposed to later.