Monday, June 25, 2007

Full Circle

Dan sat on the park bench half dozing under the warmth of the summer sun. He came here every chance he could, which was pretty often anymore, since he'd retired a dozen years ago. His life had slowed down and changed quite a bit in that time, with the passing of his dear wife Ellen and the increasingly less frequent visits from his son Scotty, who had moved to Florida twenty five years ago and now was doing very well as owner of a tour company that ferried people around the Keys showing them all the sights. The last Dan heard his son owned six of those tour boats and had also partnered with a guy that owned a restaurant chain in the area. It all sounded fantastic. It would have been nice to have been invited on one of those tours, but he guessed Scotty was a busy man these days and didn't have time to chauffeur an old man around. Dan had always kept busy during the summer with gardening... vegetables, flowers, even rose bushes, but the last couple of years it was too much for him to get down on the ground and do all that work, so now he just had a few tomato plants that didn't need that much attention. That left him plenty of time to go sit in the park and watch the kids play.

As he watched them play he spotted one boy who stood out from the rest. Wearing clothes that were a little too neatly pressed for playing in the dirt and sand, he looked very eager to join the other kids, but Dan could tell he didn't know how. While a dozen other children screamed and yelled in merriment this blond haired boy with the bright eyes was going from one to the next asking "Hey will you play with me?". Most of them ignored him or said something like"Ok follow us" and headed toward a spinning merry-go-round, or climbing the pirates lookout, to which the boy's mother intervened by saying, "Better not go on that, you might fall", or "That's going way too fast", leaving the boy to find someone else to ask, "Will you play with me?". The mother looked unconfortable being there and it was obvious that she had come at the insistance of her friend, who hadn't stopped talking since they got there, nor had she looked to see what her kids were doing, which was running wild and basically being kids. The sight of the lone child tugged at Dan's heart because it brought back painful memories of his own childhood when he was the outcast. Gangly and weak, he hadn't been able to climb the monkey bars as fast as the other kids, and could never find someone to push him on the swing set or the merry-go-round. Those earliest of years for him had set the tune for his whole childhood, being someone on the outside of everything that was going on. Those were lonely years for him, making few friends and being able to keep even fewer. It wasn't until Ellen had taken a liking to him and agreed to marry him that he finally felt like he'd found someplace he fit in. She had brought him out of the shell he didn't realize he'd been living in since that childhood of longing. Now she was gone and he realized that most of the friends they'd made during their marriage didn't come around anymore, and in fact most of them had been closer to Ellen than him. He felt his life had come full circle and here he was on the playground again, alone.
His eyes were half closed when he felt a tug on his pant leg. He looked down into a pair of big blue eyes and a voice said "Hey will you play with me?". A smile came to his face as he said "Sure I'll play with you." His smile got even bigger as a tiny hand grabbed his and led him toward the swings.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Lions and Tigers and Bears

Ohio does not have a large bear population, and in fact it is very rare to see any in this part of the state at all. Nevertheless, over the last week there have been three separate instances of bear sightings in this area, but far enough apart that it wasn't the same bear. One of those was when a bear came into Tuscora Park on a busy day and scared quite a few people. The police followed it and videotaped it through the streets as it made its way back to the woods. One of the other sightings was just a couple of miles from my land, which is exciting to me. I'd love to see one, although I'd keep my distance, especially if it is a mother with cubs. Any woman is dangerous, but when they have claws that can rip you from asshole to appetite you have to be extra careful.
We don't have many predatory animals at all around here really. There are coyotes and a few bobcats and even a cougar once, but all rarely seen. The cougar was one that had been a pet and escaped. It made a big stir for a long time, with people calling to report seeing it from all over the place, sometimes as far as fifty miles apart at around the same time. I know they're fast animals, but I think most people were mistaking their neighbor's house cat for the ferocious beast. When I was just a couple of years out of school a neighbor shot a huge boa constrictor that was more than ten feet long. That one is still a mystery, as it appeared in a field out in the middle of the country. Most people knew everyone else and anyone having something like that for a pet would surely have been well known.
You just never know what kind of beasts lurk in the tall grasses of the world, whether it be in the forested countryside or the inner city, which might hold the most dangerous of creatures.

It's day #3 for me being mostly home alone with the wife and youngest son on vacation. The other two come and go, but are mostly gone so I usually have the house to myself. A sure sign that I'm getting old... I could be using this time to watch all kinds of internet porn, but I'd rather be working on things around the house. Something just isn't right with this picture.

Friday, June 22, 2007

One in a Million Shot

Today my son brought his arsenal of weaponry out to the land to do some target shooting, and since I was there I fired off a few rounds also. When I went up the hill to check the targets to see how close we were I found a snake lying belly up, having been hit by one of the rounds. I've walked that hill many many times and have never seen a snake, so the chance that one just happened into our line of fire is amazing. It reminds me of another incredible "can you believe it" happening from many years ago.
I used to play baseball a lot with my two nephews who lived at the end of the lane. I was about fifteen or so and they were about 8 and 10 at the time. We played in their backyard and any ball hit on the other side of the lane was a home run. Both of them were pretty good and could reach that distance pretty often. One time my other sister's son was playing with us. He loved sports, and at 9 years old would sit and read the sports pages for hours on end (he's now head sports journalist for a good sized newspaper - go figure), but wasn't very strong physically, and had never been able to hit one "out of the park" in the backyard. On this day, however, he got hold of a pitch and sent in over everyone's head, landing on the bank of the ditch that ran beside the lane. When my other nephew went to get the ball he started yelling for us to come and look. The ball had singled out a mole making his way along the bank and had killed it. We all talked for years about the "mole shot"........ just one of those things you remember.

Well my wife is gone for a few days, so I basically have the house to myself, which is very unusual and I'm not quite sure how to feel about it yet, but I'm about to go watch a ball game without interruptions. And I might just start farting and pick my nose just because I can. Oh wait... I do those things all the time anyway. But now no one is here to yell. :)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

It Was Grace Jones

For some reason, I don't know if I saw someone who looked like this person or whether I was thinking of something in my head, I couldn't for the life of me think of the name of who it was I was trying to remember. Oh yeah, she played in that one movie called.............. Ok, forget that but she also was in that Eddie Murphy one............... another blank. Today was one of those days. A day where nothing is firing upstairs. I was forgetting things and couldn't concentrate on what I was doing.
They say that Thomas Edison's brain - or was it Einstein's - had more dimples than any other brain anyone had ever seen. More dimples of course means more intelligence, supposedly. Today I was picturing mine being removed and put on display somewhere as the smallest, smoothest human brain ever extracted. Maybe they'd put it next to Edison's for comparison.
"Aww, look at that little one dad. It's as smooth as a bowling ball. And would fit right in the palm of my hand."
"Yep. That brain has a reflective surface Tommy. Just like a mirror. No place for anything to stick to that one."

Anyway, I finally did think of the person I was trying to. Then two minutes later I forgot again. And now I completely forget why I started writing this. Oh well.

My son Nathan - the one who just graduated- had a Boy Scout Board of Review last night. He called me as soon as it was over, his voice shaking so badly he sounded like he was operating a jackhammer, and said "I'm an Eagle Scout now!" He was really excited, even though he knew he'd probably get it. Eagle Scout is the highest rank in Boy Scouts and takes a lot of determination to achieve, so I'm very proud of him!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mr. Lonely

Right now is one of those times I wish I had a close friend to be able to talk to and tell what's going on in my life, and to give me advice that's useful. But I have no one except my wife who I can talk to, and when she's part of the problem then I have to go it alone. So, this online diary of mine is where I put all my worries and frustrations.

I need to make up a resume and head out looking for a new job. I've put this off for a long time, but things at work are getting to the point where I can't see myself being there much longer. I usually go to work and do my job without complaint, but around Thanksgiving last year I couldn't take it anymore and turned my two weeks notice in, telling my boss - in an uncharacteristic burst of anger- what I saw to be major problems, many of them directly stemming from him. He told me that things would change for the better and convinced me to stay. I think my speaking out irked him, and after an initial period of when things did get a little better, they went back to the way they were, only worse. This is a family business, and the owner gives the store manager absolute power over every aspect of it, so there is no going over his head if you have a problem, and no union to back you up, so if you get on his bad side he will make life impossible for you, and right now I'm not on his good side.

My wife has gotten me to a point where I just want to give up on everything. She has become so irresponsible managing money that we are the farthest in debt we've ever been, and she can't see it even when it's pointed out to her. A few months ago we had been looking at some new vehicles to replace her van, which was starting to have problems. After checking out prices and keeping in mind all we have to do to our land to get it ready to start building on, we decided it would be cheaper to fix the van and keep it for a while longer. About three days later she drove home in a new- two year old- suv which she saw and reasoned to herself that she had to have, forgetting all about what we'd decided. $15,000 more in debt. Then she went behind my back and bought a brand new garden tractor for me after we'd decided to hold off on that. Sure, it's nice but more than I need, and $1000 more than the ones we'd looked at together, so there's another $3000 on the credit card. Now, after spending most of our savings for my son's graduation she's decided to take a vacation and go to the ocean. No discussion. She already booked hotels and everything for her and my youngest son and my niece and her kids. Ah, magic credit card, is there anything you can't do?
Also, we've never been that far apart, so the anxiety level for me will be astronomical, worrying about everything that could go wrong.

There. I've laid it out for you, Mr. Blogger Diary. My life of late, such as it is, in two short paragraphs. And I wonder why I'm stressed all the time?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Grad Party

We had the graduation party for Nathan and my sister's daughter yesterday. It worked out nice having them together, a very good turnout. As usual I ate way too much and now resemble one of those people who needs to have to side of their house torn off so the paramedics can get a crane in to hoist them out when they decide it's finally time to go to the gym. Well maybe not quite that bad, but I will need to do some serious dieting......after the leftovers are gone.

I went back to work today and it didn't take long to miss being on vacation. I really need a new job, but such is the lot of the unskilled nobodies of the world, we have to take what we can get. I was thinking about getting a job as a roller skating waitress at the drive-in. A waiter actually, but I still have to wear a skirt. Either that or a manure bagger at the feed store. I think I might be able to work it out to where I can do the manure bagging job and go straight to the drive-in from there. Yeah... now that I think about it I'm pumped. That's what I'll do. Ah, such career planning boggles my mind sometimes.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

From Blues Clues to Love's Blues

My middle son graduated Sunday, ending 13 years of school days for him. Such a long time when you're that age, but as a parent the time flies by quickly. My wife was putting together pictures of him from when he was a baby to now. He has changed so much, growing up way too fast for my liking. As with my older son, I am filled with regret that I didn't get to do more with him. I guess as a parent you always want to do more and spend more time, hoping to create some fantastic memories to remind them how great it was to have fun with the parents when they were young. Often, in the course of everyday life, we don't think about those things when we're trying to get them to do homework, clean their room, and wash behind their ears. Hopefully he won't drift too far from his home and we'll still have time to do some things that we can all look back on. I've discovered that that can happen, because my oldest son and I are probably closer now than when he was in school.

Graduation day didn't go exactly as we would have hoped. After the ceremony we made our way outside and stood, waiting for him to come out so we could take pictures. When all but a handful of people were left and he still hadn't come out we concluded that he had already gone, so we came home to find that he'd already gotten out of his dress clothes and was ready to take off with his girlfriend. My wife was majorly PO'd and hurt that she didn't get any pictures of him in his cap& gown, except when he was getting his diploma. So instead of eating out to celebrate we stayed at home and watched tv while he left with his gf. It wasn't a big deal to me, but my wife was a bear the rest of the day. Oh well. We're having his party this Sunday, so hopefully he'll grace us with his presence that day. I guess he's being a typical 18 year old.