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 that I call 'home.' It's ten miles from any town, down a gravel road miles from any highway. It's quiet out there... hours would go by without a single car.

As a kid, living there was a love/hate thing. You could see every star in the heavens and the silence, save an occasional gentle, summer breeze, was stark. Sometimes on a particularly quiet evening, you could hear the neighbor about a mile through the woods playing his harmonica.

We cut wood for the wood stove to heat the house, and the phone was on a party line, where occasionally you'd pick up and hear Lela Plumlee sharing a recipe.

I lived there with my Grandparents, and our relationship was great because, as you can imagine, we spent plenty of time talking. A kid needs social interaction with people his age, and there wasn't much of that. Until I got a set of wheels, I would sit on a bench in the backyard and fight off wanderlust. At night, I'd listen to far off radio stations to find out what the rest of the world was doing.

I learned a lot about life from that place, and not a day goes by that I don't miss my Grandparents dearly. Grandpa died, Grandma moved into town, and the old place was sold. When I left, I never looked back.

But from my current perspective, living in the city with crowds, bills and deadlines, I remember home fondly. I'm not wired in a way that would allow me to go back to that lifestyle, but there's a Glen Campbell song that occasionally pops up on my iPod, as it did this morning. When I hear it, I have a good cry.

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.