Some of you that read my blog may of noticed my last post on July 19th, entitled “Our Day in Court” was actually, in part, a repost of my first ever contribution to this blog, back on June 22nd . I would like to report to you that I re-posted this because of some clever reason, but the truth is, I re-posted it because it is a favorite story of people who have been reading my stories for a while now, and, it is one of my favorite stories, because I think it depicts my “voice”, my sense of humor, and my love of word play. I have to come clean though, when I re-posted it on July 19th, I had forgotten that it was part of my inaugural post to this blog on June 22nd. So, it’s really a case of- “not only is my short-term memory horrible, but so is my short-term memory.” Yes, I’m getting absent-minded…so, sue me. Still, it IS a good story, so keep that in mind before you ..ahem…write me off.
Ok, with that mea culpa officially logged, I am going to move along to subject matter. I typically write stories about my generation’s “good ol’ days”. That is to say the 60s & 70s. Now, as we all know, certainly the 60’s and to some extent the 70’s, represented a period of time in our history that was in many regards unsettled, divisive, fractious, and contentious. The Viet Nam conflict, the assassinations of both Kennedy’s and Martin Luther King, the horror of Kent State, and radical division amongst our own people socially, politically, racially, and religiously. It was also a period in time that was throbbing with exciting new and shiny things to contemplate and to sample, especially if you were of the younger sect-the incredible music, the alluring hippie movement with the message of “we can change the world”, The promise of a better life for ourselves and our children with all the latest technological advances and medical breakthroughs, and the feeling of a deepening general sense of humanity. Hey, we were young and highly optimistic…what can I say. Also, I think this is the right place in this rambling report to point out the old adage-“the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Huh. Interesting innit?
In my particular situation, I was a farm boy born and raised in a small rural Maine town, who found both the world of my farm family and my fathers and grandfathers generations almost as surreal as I did the fascinating world of the radical hippies engaged in the peace movement that I watched on the evening news on a 19 inch black and white television planted in the corner of my parents living room. I waffled back and forth between these worlds for several years, trying to be both the dutiful son and grandson on the farm, and the bad-ass hippie radical intent on rooting out the greed and corruption of my elder’s generations. It was hard to find traction in either world because I was never sure how I should feel. Thankfully, I was blessed with a very understanding and loving family that allowed me the time to find my footing and to walk through this life with a pretty solid foundation. It is those people- that family, those farms, and those times that I choose to remember with unrelenting fondness. My sweet memories of growing up in this enchanted lifestyle is not the entire story of course, there were moments that were tragic, horrible, painful, and ugly. I don’t write about them. There are plenty that do. There are scads of writers who delve into the dark recesses of the meanness that life insists on thrusting on most people, at different points in their lives, which cannot be avoided, and that we all must endure. There are, also, many people who crave that sort of voyeuristic journey into others experiences with lifes maladies and misfortunes. Let me point out here, I love a good dark story myself, and I have shelves filled with novels of courtroom dramas and murder mysteries. But, I’ve made a conscious choice to stay away from that subject matter when I write, and to stick to feel good stories. I mean why not? They are just as real, and in my opinion, every bit as important to explore, consider, and to learn from. I’ve discovered a common thread with people who like my writing. They remark on my sense of humor, my wordplay and wit, and they tell me my stories stimulate their own sweet memories of a time gone by. That…is very gratifying to hear when it is precisely your intent when clattering away at the keyboard. I will also admit this; sometimes I have no idea where a particular story or writing exercise is going, or how it will end, when I sit to write. Sometimes I feel like I am merely an instrument and find myself fascinated as this story unfolds before my eyes. It is these times, when that happens, when I feel a sense of euphoria and creative energy that has a life of its own, that makes me wonder how this happens, what triggers it. My guess is, I’ll never really know, but I certainly recognize the difference when I’m sitting at the keyboard.
So, I’m going to go against the grain here. I’m gonna go and do what I just told you I don’t do. I’m gonna write about my thoughts on some of the recent surge of discontent in our current society. I don’t know why I’m doing this….but dammit, I’m gonna give it the ol’ farm boy logic/try and see if it makes any sense to anyone.
First up-Religion. When I was growing up, in my family religion was a subject that fell into the same category as people’s income or passing gas…a personal matter that one should keep to oneself. Most of the ladies in my family attended church on Sunday’s, some devoutly-every Sunday, others sporadically. All of them considered themselves God-fearing women, and while they didn’t always snag us boys by the ear and drag us to Sunday school and church every time they attended, they did attempt to do their duty to ensure we didn’t grow up heathens. It was a tough battle, while we boys would have preferred a Sunday filled with a few sneaked cigarettes and fishing in the brook, weeding the garden was probably gonna win the contest over church. So, I guess I can report that I had a sporadic Baptist upbringing, but on occasion I would attend my Mom’s church of choice-the Unitarian Church. Later in life, I was a practicing Catholic for a while, when I was a young adult and wanted my children to be raised non-heathen too… until they booted me out for allowing my first wife to divorce me. Since then I’ve realized that I probably just don’t fit into any particular religion…mostly because I don’t really believe in God as described to me, and I cant seem to find that elusive faith that the devout talk about with stars in their eyes. I gotta tell you, I think it would be easier to have that faith, and I surely respect and envy folks that do, but the simple truth is, I don’t. What I do have is the commitment to the same principles and values that are usually preached in most churches. I think there are many more folks like me who respect others faith, but ask for the same respect in return for our lack of faith. After all, isn’t our constitution based on “religious freedom”? Isnt this why we have fought generations of wars to preserve and protect this very same constitution so we all can have religious freedom? Free from persecution? Isnt that a two way street? Freedom to practice your faith unencumbered, and freedom to not have a described faith or religion, without persecution. Seems like the two have more in common than we’d like to admit. As far as I can tell, no one in this country is being forced to practice a religion they do not believe, and no one is being kept from practicing their faith either…so, just a suggestion-let’s all stop the belly-aching over religion…keep it to yourself and believe what makes you feel right.
Next up-Politics…Ha!..just kidding…no way I’m going there. Tough tittie. Mama didn’t raise a completely idiotic heathen.
Flag burning/desecration ….Please. Really? We are gonna fight over this nonsense?..count me out. “Stupid is as stupid does.” Run Forrest, run!
Unruly children. Now, I gotta tell you…My father would have planted his boot in a particular spot on my anatomy, if I had carried on like that poor child in the Portland diner did. However, it is important to note, he, my father, never had to….why you ask?..because I knew better that to act that way, because my parents and family were involved with my upbringing, the same holds true for my children, and my grandchildren. Total parental failure. Period. Don’t blame the poor child, he’s terrified this idiotic couple is all he has to rely on.
All right, this is enough, I cant even stand myself anymore…. I’m going back to happy little stories about the magical days or yore….I promise, this wont happen again. Hey, take it easy, enjoy your life, don’t forget all the things in your “good ol’ days” that made you feel special. Don’t ever let ém touch your spirit…that belongs to you alone.
In lieu of cards and gifts on the one month anniversary of this blog, the author will accept eternal readership. 😉