Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thats My Boy....

I just realized today that my oldest son, Duff, and his wife are in 3 weeks going to be married 20 years...  20 years...  20... Years...!!!

Jackie was married to Clint for 20 years...  That's all she got...  20... Years...  That is a mountain of time when you are looking forward, but when you are looking backwards, its the raw feeling of a Nanosecond... A Nanosecond is to one second what one second is to 31.71 years...  Do the math, its one billionth of a single second...  I mean, I am a fast dancer, but not THAT fast!

Just what happens to you over 20 years?  Just what are you left with when the vacancy sign appears in the window...  I can't imagine the pain of loss, sudden loss that comes to so many...  I have said before that Val and I were nothing special, quite the opposite...  We go the long goodbyes, we got 42 years...  Twice as much as 20...  Well over 31.71 years...  So we got a Nanosecond and 1/2!!!

Duff is certainly, my boy...  He's been in my life since I was but 18 years old...  And his wonderful wife, Keirra, now in our family for 20 years...  5 daughters later...  They are quite a family...


I have been blessed, gifted really with a beautiful, amazing family...  And, Jackie has too...  Between us we share 18 kids and 15 grandkids...  I was thinking that by the time I am said and done (Assuming I can live to my promise to give Jackie 40 years...  yes, I know, that means I will hit 100!) My oldest granddaughter will be 56!!!  Jackie's oldest daughter will be 64!!!  (Older than I am now!)  and these kids will likely not only have their own children, but their children could be having children...  (I mean I was 43 when Keirra was pregnant with Isabelle)  and with some simple math, Jackie and I could share a family of more than 120 people, easily...

And it all started with Duff, born November 12, 42 years ago...  This is so crazy!!!  To actually read this is highlighting a time warp that I am certain I do not fully understand...

Jackie did an amazing thing for my kids and grandkids this past Christmas...  She took all of Val's clothes (like the blouse/shirt you see Val pictured in here) and had them made into keep sake quilts for everyone... 

I do not know who would ever have the self esteem and confidence to do such a beautiful thing...  Most new spouses want the deceased spouses forgotten about, never mentioned, or part of the "new life".  Jackie, quite the opposite wants Val remembered and honored, just the same as I do Clint...  I have said it before but when I meet him on the flipside of this life, I will laud him, hug him for the amazing husband and father he was... 

Tonight, I am in full respect for what 20 years means...  To some, its a lifetime...  To others, its a drop in the bucket...

There he sits with a pen and a yellow pad
He's a handsome lad, that's my boy
B R L F Q spells mom and dad
Well that ain't too bad, 'coz that's my boy
You can have your TV and your nightclubs
You can have your drive-in picture shows
I'll sit here and drink a beer and listen to the radio
Bide my time and watching Scotty grow
Making castles out of building blocks
And a cardboard box, that's my boy
Mickey Mouse says it's thirteen o' clock
Well that's quite a shock, but that's my boy
In four short years, I've grown from rags to riches
And what I did before that I don't know
Well you can let it rain on my windowpane, I got my own rainbow
And we're just sitting here shining, watching Scotty grow
Up on daddy's shoulders and off to bed
Old sleepy head, that's my boy
Gotta have a drink of water and a story read
An old teddy bear named Fred, that's my boy
Well what's that you say, momma, come on and keep your feet warm?
Well save me a place, I'll be there in a minute or so
I'll think I'll stay right here and say a little prayer before I go
'Coz me and God are watching Scotty grow
Me and God are watching Scotty grow

Monday, January 12, 2015

Who Made Me The King...?

One of the ten commandments is "thou shalt not covet..."  You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor...  Since I have never coveted anyone or anything, I wonder if I am just too full of myself to be normally aware and wishing I had things and stuff that others have?  Is that possible?
Maybe in my "know it all'ness" I just think I am smarter than other people and why on earth would I ever want to covet stuff of someone else when I think I have the nicest stuff and am smarter and cooler than other people?  Is this possible?  Have you ever heard me pontificate how much I know, how smart I am and why I think the world stops and stops it at my doorstep?  My goodness, what and who have I realized that I am...?
Well, I will tell you...  I am someone who needs more... much more, humility.  So tell me, is there a humility store...?  Can I get this done quickly...?  Hey man, you know me...  I need a fast track, I mean, I don't have time to waste on life lessons!  Oh my!
Somehow I am certain I am really, truly going about all this in the wrong way!!!  Have you noticed the paradoxes that Christ speaks of in his sermons and parables...?  The meek will inherit the earth?  (Can you still be meek and own the earth???)  The Master must truly become the servant... 
Information wise...  we all only know what we are told...  Living wise, we should ourselves be very careful what we tell others...  It just might make us look full of ourselves...
"All I Know Is What You Tell Me"
All I know is what you tell me
What you tell me, will it help me?
Late at night, in the morning
I’m in mourning in the morning.

At the lonely day, in front of me
Some lady feels I will never say goodbye
Don’t you pity me but if you never say goodbye
It would help me.

All day long, my folks are tumbling
Got me mumbling with the tumbling
I can’t go [?] I search for answers
No one answers ‘cept the dancer.

And she’s lonely girl, the same as me.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Loving "So"...

Don't ask me how it is possible to find love, let alone to find it again.  And by again, I don't mean someone pushed the reset button, I mean this love is entirely different.  I am beginning to think that love is like my Plush Pippin Pies, 43 flavors and varieties!  Which causes me to think about so many things that aren't even related to love.  Like how does humanity serve one another without love?  Is the drive for material, personal gain the only alternative to real love, care and compassion?

Since I married Jacqueline 3 months ago, I've learned that I have had to rearrange, change and adjust much of my thinking.  I could stay in my "ways" and shrug it off to my age, my inability to change, but something inside me is vastly different.  Something is telling me that more happiness than I ever imagined after Val went away is available to me.  And, there is no price to pay, but to stay open, give (like the little stream) and watch things unfold.  I think this song sums it up precisely "so"...

I remember once walking home from school with a buddy and we were talking about marriage.  We weren't even out of grade school.  We both agreed that it would be impossible to marry someone who had already been married.  I think our conversation was germ based and that when someone had kissed someone else, lived with someone else, there was no way we could ever marry that person.  While Val made it a point for me to focus on finding someone to marry after she was gone, it didn't dawn on me that I was that "used" person my childhood friend and I had been talking about.  So weird, the thoughts that jump out of your brain and then stay with you 50 years!

Val has been gone 21 months, I know where she is, what she is doing.  Jackie and I found each other in a LDS Widow/Widowers group on Facebook.  We hit it off as friends immediately and by the end of August we met in person.  We got engaged and married by the end of September.  While fast by any standard, its been the best thing we have ever done.  We laugh, we live, we love, we share and we serve.  Our families are our greatest joy and happiness.  We have 18 kids, 15 grandkids and we plan on many, many more being added to this beautiful family Jackie and I share.
So what about love...  Some may feel that the depth of what we have for each other violates the many years of loving, committed relationships that Jackie had with Clint and I had with Val.  To us, we have the marital vows and covenants we made in marrying each other to be just as significant as those same vows we made to Val and Clint.  We have also come to believe that our life together was not a happenstance thing...  We both had had experiences with others while dating that helped us know that when we clicked, it was right...
Today I have been thinking a lot about all this stuff...  Its a new year, its filled with promise and opportunity to grow, reach out, be kinder and caring to all those with whom we come in contact.  I am excited to meet new people.  I don't feel like I have left anyone behind, though it is a very different life for me now...  One I relish, and enjoy...  Jackie made me promise her 40 years with me, which I readily did...  In 40 years my oldest granddaughter will be 56!  I want to be around just to see that!  A friend of mine told me this weekend that I have been so lucky to find yet another beautiful and amazing woman to be married to...  He is so right!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

How'd You Like To Spend Christmas...

I don't think I know of a more serene place than Hawaii.  I also don't know of a place that seems so out of place during the Christmas holiday than Hawaii.  I mean think of it, singing "White Christmas" in a place that doesn't ever have snow seems pretty silly to me.  At the same time, the people there are so happy and always wishing you a Merry Christmas, it seems totally fitting...

 Mele Kalikimaka...
The Hawaiian way to say Merry Christmas...

As I stood on the shore of the ocean facing Molaki, I wondered just why it was that God created something so beautiful and peaceful and in the 31 years I have been going to Hawaii, how it is that it doesn't seem to have changed all that much...

Lazing away, listening to the surf, pretending to be shipwrecked (of course with more than a volleyball named Wilson to spend time with) and wondering how it is that the world, time and all stresses of life seemed to have stalled, stopped, completely dissipated.  The sun seemed to beat down in a way that its warmth was more like a touch of love.

Friday, November 28, 2014

To Love Is To Listen, To Listen Is To Hear...

I suppose that since I have been married to Jackie now for 2 months (as of tomorrow) I may as well chime in and tell you what I have learned.  Learned?  Did you really think that I wouldn't have to learn anymore?  Uh, not quite.  Life is about learning no matter how old you are, no matter what you are doing, no matter how you live in your own reality, whatever your existence is.  We learn.  All of us.  Everyone of us.

To the person living under a bridge and sleeping with a shopping cart nearby loaded with all their earthly possessions all the way over to the man who lives in a 80 story highrise with butlers, valets, chefs and nannys, every single one of us is learning.  We may not like it, we may not realize it, but alas new things come at us everyday.  In every way.

So yes, I am learning...

I am learning that I am a lot more obtuse than I ever believed... Perhaps that is because Val got used to my weirdee ways or maybe she tolerated them, either way, I didn't have to recognize my patterns, habits or set ways as something I needed to rearrange or adjust...  Jackie is deft like a surgeon when it comes to helping me see that there are some things I could do to alter my way of living...

The good news...

Fortunately, I am very open and willing to change...  As a small example, when I met Jackie, like from the beginning, in early September, I recognized that she could help me live my life in a better way...  In fact, I asked her to help me do so...  Today I am down over 90 lbs. and its all because I was willing to see the need for a new "me".  True, I had begun this path long before I met her, but I had arrived at a plateau and even felt like slipping back into my old habits...  Habits that have had very little to do with my eating whatever I want, for I haven't been on a diet, but the habits I am speaking about are how I live my life "moving" around now...   Like; I no longer look for a parknig space next to the door of a store.  I am happy to park far away and walk...  You'd be surprised at what a few 100 yards a few times a day will do for burning calories and helping you get more healthy...

Now the meat...

So you get the idea...  But the good stuff is about what Jackie is helping me learn with regard to my stubborn ways, my "Set in Stone" thinking...  When I listen to her concerns (and believe me, if you were married to me, you would have plenty of concerns too!) I listen because I want to, but I also listen because I want to be a better man...  In the movie "As Good As It Gets" Melvin, played by Jack Nicholson says to Carol, played by Helen Hunt, "You make me want to be a better man."  Its quite a terrific exchange in the movie, if you haven't seen it, "do".  If you have seen it, but its been awhile, then see it again.  You see, I have another 30-40 years in me... I could easily have become a curmudgeon and roiled in my own ways forever...  I could have slipped into the darkness of anonymity and solitude...  I wanted to, I made plans to...  Several times in fact, I had come to a plan of moving to Superior, Montana and living in a single wide trailer, taking a job slinging hash at a truck stop for the 5am thru lunch rush shifts, 7 days a week and writing and trout fishing to kill time...  which is exactly what I would have been doing...  "killing time"...

Things changed...

For some reason, I was disarmed and open...  I listened to my heart and my soul, not my head and my "reasons" and "rationale"...  BUT... It meant that I had to want to be a better man than I was and I had to change many things about me...  Most of which started with my relearning to listen and to hear, really hear, what someone was saying who cared for me and for us...  more than I wanted to be "right" and more than I wanted to "have it my way"...  Interestingly -- though -- it was so easy...  and the whole application of relationship theories that I have espoused all my life, I am now living, loving and laughing about...  Some day I will write about "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" and how uncanny life with Jackie is!  Really...  Uncanny!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Met Half Way...

I think there are fears and worries that beset us all.  Why the magnitude of such things, how they hit us, how trying they are; vary from person to person and it seems to me to partially be a feature of our genetic make up, our background and conditioning, our outlook on life, our experiences and our skill set at dealing with trials and tribulations.

I am drawn to music.

Many ask me how it is that music is so significant to me?  I think it stems from my life as a kid, which I lived, relate to and correlate most of my entire life with music, its genre, the time in my life that a certain song was getting air play, things I thought about while listening to a certain tune...  those kinds of things...

For instance... my dad brought home a reel to reel tape system that he bought in a pawn shop.  At this time, many military guys spent much of their money on sound systems and back then, the best equipment seemed to be - clarity and sound wise - reel to reel equipment.  Such a clean sound!  Stereo sound was pretty new at the time.  No such thing as iPods, Bose sound, surround sound and so forth.  In fact, today's true sound aficionados have gone back to vinyl albums!  Pretty cool.  I loved my stereo system in my room, I had that thing running all the time I was home; studying, showering, dressing, cleaning my room, talking on the phone, it was my constant companion. 

Lyrics began to pierce my soul and I soon realized that just about all music was something to fan the flames of the heart; love songs, lost love, unrequited love, sought after love, broken hearts, all of the music seemed to ooze passion and would distill emotions and dreams.  All I have to do is make mention, of say, The Beach Boys, and you know immediately what I mean. 

With this back drop, I have been thinking a bunch about how these things have made me the man I am today.  As a very committed and active member of the Mormon church, you might conclude that music wouldn't be all that essential to me, unless it were a hymn or something sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  While I am certain that reverence and worship are very crucial uses of music, so are the things I mention above in terms of "heart mapping".

I am in a new and adventurous place in life...  Marrying Jackie 54 days ago has brought me to many thoughts and given me energy in life, about life...  I can't believe the miracle of hope and a reason to trust in the future again have come into my life...  At the same time, nothing has been lost or extinguished between Val, me, our life, our family and our history.  Which is a good thing.  I can't explain how these feelings work, sometimes they feel so abnormal to someone who hasn't lost their spouse.  I'm of course presuming that, because prior to Val's illness and her going away, I am sure I wouldn't have understood this new realm I am so grateful to enjoy.  I have truly been met halfway and gathered in with reasons to live, laugh and love.  This Thanksgiving, I definitely have a lot to be very, very thankful for.

In the quiet silent seconds I turned off the light switch
And I came down to meet you in the half light the moon left
While a cluster of night jars sang some songs out of tune
A mantle of bright light shone down from a room

Come down in time I still hear her say
So clear in my ear like it was today
Come down in time was the message she gave
Come down in time and I'll meet you half way

Well I don't know if I should have heard her as yet
But a true love like hers is a hard love to get
And I've walked most all the way and I ain't heard her call
And I'm getting to thinking if she's coming at all

Come down in time I still hear her say
So clear in my ear like it was today
Come down in time was the message she gave
Come down in time and I'll meet you half way

There are women and women and some hold you tight
While some leave you counting the stars in the night

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Chest Fever....

Ever have something in your life that burst your heart, made you feel like you couldn't breath or that you had the wind knocked out of you?  "Bad news on the doorstep, I couldn't take one more step..." (1971, American Pie, Don McClean)  Maybe it was a lost love, an unrequited love, missed opportunity, sudden loss of a loved one or other reason that you feel the "heat" of having "chest fever".  I can tell you, its tough, all of it, but I can also tell you that because of when "chest fever" hits, it helps you, most definitely, cope with and understand the hardest pieces of life.

Well I know the affects of having "chest fever"...

I suffered my first loss at age 10...  My favorite dog, Heidi, (A black and tan dachshund) was run over and killed.  No one stopped to find the home of our dog, who ever killed her is probably not even alive anymore...  I sobbed for days...  My mother held my head in her lap...  I was to learn that life isn't worth living without great love...  But at the time, all I knew was Heidi was gone...

I have to apologize, I am so tired tonight, I will have to finish this tomorrow...