Saturday, January 30, 2010

Almost a year...

As a kid, I remember being irritated by clich├ęs. A large part of my life was spent with my Grandparents, so I was subjected to a litany of them. My least favorite was "time flies."

As a kid, time never flies. Ever.

Even after I got out of school, time seemed to crawl. I wandered aimlessly through my twenties, wondering if I would ever see evidence of time "flying." Working in the electronics department at Wal Mart, time most certainly does not fly. Moving from town to town in radio was hard, but still, a year seemed like two.

My thirties, however, were a different story. Weekends started to feel like one day instead of two. Time spent with my daughter was fleeting and before I knew it, I was forty.

In 2004, I started blogging and came to know a fella named Gene Maudlin, alias Old Horsetail Snake. At first our relationship consisted only of blog comments. Then one night, as I struggled through a divorce, he reached out with a phone call and we talked for a couple of very reassuring hours.

Gene was a good man. Unfortunately, he was also in his later years, and had been a smoker most of his life. For him, time definitely flew.

I went to his blog one day and found an announcement that he had passed away. He's been gone now for almost a year... yet I can still pull up his blog. I read several entries from it tonight. For those of us who only knew Gene via the online world, he will never die. In this realm, time stands still.

Weird thing, the Internet. Every modification of every website... every single click of a key... is a snapshot in time. A placekeeper to remind us what was happening in that tiny sliver of a moment.

Good night, Gene. Your blog buddy misses you. Thanks for making it possible, via your blog, for us to still visit now and then...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Takes me home...

No matter where I end up in the world, there will be one place I call home. It's ten miles from any town, down a long, dusty gravel road. Hours would go by without a single car. If you wanted a place to hide out and never be found, this was the place.

Living there was a love/hate thing. Kids don't care much for isolation, it interferes with a social agenda. On the other hand, it would be utopia for an astronomer, you could see every star in the heavens, and, except for a buzzing bee or summer breeze, the silence was stark. On any given evening you could sit on the porch and listen to the neighbor, about a mile through the woods, playing his harmonica.

I lived there with my Grandparents, who deserve a ton of credit for who I am today. In that quiet and remote place, we spent plenty of time talking. I learned how to cook, chop wood, weed a half-acre garden, and about a thousand idioms that make me seem older than I am. I also learned to appreciate the little things.

But in my soul, I was a kid from Los Angeles. I needed more social interaction with people my age, and there wasn't much of that. Until I got a set of wheels, I would sit on a glider in the backyard and endure bouts of wanderlust. At night, I'd listen to far-away radio stations to find out what the rest of the world was doing.

My grandfather died one morning cutting wood to heat the house. Less than a year later, I got a job offer in another town and started a decades-long pursuit of a dream. At the time, I was glad to see that place in my rear view mirror.

But from my current perspective, living in a city with crowds, bills, and bullshit, I remember that place fondly. I'm not wired in a way that would allow me to go back, but there's a song that occasionally pops up on my iPod that reminds me of home, and clears out my tear ducts.

Mail doesn't deliver to where my Grandparents are today, but if it did, I might write words like these:

(Love, Always) Letters To Home

You might think there's some big reason
Why I took this time to write.
The cards and letters...
There've been too few of those.
But I just stopped to realize
How long that I've been gone,
And there's a few small things I need to know.

Dear Daddy, do the whippoorwills still echo through the night?
Does the sound of silence squeeze the morning light?
And have you caught the big one in the pond just down the road?

I miss you so.

Well the years keep slipping by me
Like the miles out on the road,
But I don't guess I'll change my way of life.
There's no harm in holdin' memories
So please tell me if you can,
I need to bring those old times into sight.

Dear Mama, can you still find the dipper in the stars?
And do the roads still go for hours without cars?
And does the frost still shine cold mornings
On the grass outside the door?
Just like before...
Tell me more.

I'll be back to see you sometime soon.
Can you still reach out and almost touch the moon?

And do the old songs still ring out
Through the hills for days and days?

Love Always.