Higher Ground

People keep on learnin’
Soldiers keep on warrin’
World keep on turnin’
‘Cause it won’t be too long

Powers keep on lyin’
While your people keep on dyin’
World keep on turnin’
‘Cause it won’t be too long

I’m so darn glad he let me try it again
‘Cause my last time on earth I lived a whole world of sin
I’m so glad that I know more than I knew then
Gonna keep on tryin’
Till I reach my highest ground

Teachers keep on teachin’
Preachers keep on preachin’
World keep on turnin’
‘Cause it won’t be too long, oh no

Lovers keep on lovin’
Believers keep on believin’
Sleepers just stop sleepin’
‘Cause it won’t be too long, oh no

I’m so glad that he let me try it again
‘Cause my last time on earth I lived a whole world of sin
I’m so glad that I know more than I knew then
Gonna keep on tryin’
Till I reach my highest ground

An’ Stevie knows that nobody’s gonna bring me down
Till I reach the highest ground, ’cause me ‘n’ Stevie, see
We’re gonna be a sailin’ on the funky, funky sound (till I reach the highest ground)
Bustin’ out and I’ll break you out, ’cause I’m sailin’ on
(Till I reach the highest ground)
Just sailin’ on, sailin’ on the higher ground (till I reach the highest ground)

Higher Ground – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Someone said to me recently that I was reinventing myself on this blog, but I don’t see it that way. I think I’m the same person now as I was in my youth, minus the drugs! I don’t think much of who we are on a very deep level changes over our lifetimes. Sure your opinion about this or that will differ, your taste in friends may temper, but the core of who you are will not. You still hold on to the things that brought you joy, you still like the same music, you still follow the same ideals. Were you born with this? To some degree yes, but alot of it was taught to you when you were young by your parents, teachers, and even the shows you watched on TV. You are the cumulative effect of genetics and outside influences in your formative years.

So who am I? I have asked myself that question alot over the last few years, and I think I denied the truth as a way to placate those to whom I feel the most connected, the few that matter in my life. I’ve tried to keep a balance of what they wanted and what matters to me to keep the peace, not ruffle feathers as it were. But I understand now that if they truly care about me, as I’m sure they do, they will accept me no matter what. Here’s a few truth’s about who I really am!

I love hard ass rock and roll. I know many of the songs I put on my blog could be considered mellow, but I am really edgy and heavy metal underneath. Nothing fires me up more than playing Higher Ground at 120 decibels on my new car stereo! I get too loud and curse alot when I’ve had a few, much to the disdain of those with me. I like guns and have many, including an AR15 and a 44 magnum revolver. I don’t like people much and prefer to keep to myself most of the time. I do put on a good show around those I work with, but only 2 have proven to be anything more than workmates. Their loss I say.

My goal for the future is quite simple, get away from society as much as reasonably possible. I’m tired of the social drama you have to go through just to fit in. I don’t care about your kids, your new house, what car you drive or how much you make. I’m tired of all the insecure imps thinking with their genitals, spouting their ill informed liberal opinions about this group or that, trying to impose their belief system on the nation as a whole. I’m not saying you should shut up, you have the right to speak your mind. I’m saying I don’t have to listen to you. In comes the sailboat.

With a sailboat I can have what I feel has always been at the core of who I am. FREEDOM! I won’t be tied to any one place, free to go where I choose when I choose. Free to be the person I so long to be, free to express in pictures what inspires me the most…nature in it’s raw form. Although I can be a little abrasive, deep down I am very sensitive about certain things. Every day I see animals dead on the highway, and every time it bothers me. I can’t watch anything about animals being killed, even by other animals! Nature is what it is, but I’m not fascinated with watching animals die. One of the hardest days of my life will be when I have to put my dog Vinny down in the not so distant future. I’m not an activist by any means, nor am I a vegetarian. If I was hungry enough Bambi would be on the table, but animals should be treated humanely.

I don’t care about the middle east, and I’m never going to visit a Muslim country. They have been killing their own for centuries with no end in sight. Yes it’s sad what happens to the people in war ravaged countries, but it’s their own doing. If they really wanted to end their strife they need to stand up as one and take control of their countries. I’m not against sending food or medical supplies but that’s it. We need to take care of our own now instead of sending our sons and daughters to die in another country. And if you choose to go over to volunteer and get abducted, your on your own…STUPID! What did you think was going to happen?

The only thing in this country that is a right is “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and that’s all. the rest are gifts as we are the most generous people in the world. You are not entitled to anything else unless you are willing to work for it. My father was never without a job, even when it meant working in the cold winters of Maine. He understood what it was to be a citizen, to take care of your own, to carry your own weight. As children we wanted for nothing, we felt secure, and I thank him and my mother for their efforts.

Yes there are those to whom we should strive to take care of, those who through no fault of their own, cannot support themselves for one reason or another. I don’t think anyone would deny them food, clothing, shelter or medical needs. But today’s society has become a feeding ground for all those who are not willing to put forth the effort, those who feel they are entitled to these things. I for one am tired of paying for you, so in the future I will work only enough for me to live so I can pay almost no taxes that go to those who abuse the system. I will do my part for those that deserve help through voluntarism and direct help. Their is nothing more satisfying than looking into the eyes of someone you have helped in a direct way. It’s all the payment you need.

No, I’m not reinventing myself. I’m embracing who I really am without the worry of being judged, without apology for the things I hold dear. As I strive for my Higher Ground I feel a great relief in expressing what I feel is my life’s work, my true purpose in this world. I wish to bring another perspective of what life has to offer, another view of the world around us. I want to put in pictures how I see the beauty around us that so many take for granted, the quiet side of our existence on this planet called Earth. If we could learn to live with nature, go back to a simpler time, I think we could understand what it means to have a better life worth living.

PS: On another crazy note of who I am…I get my first tattoo’s in a few weeks!

Exceptional People

I’m sitting in Carlisle PA tonight, and I will continue to Maine tomorrow and take a couple days off to rest and have my truck serviced. I always look forward to these brief respites back in the state of my birth. Even with all my travels it still feels like home.

In my lifetime to date I have met many people. Most are but a small blip in the movie reel running through my mind. Past coworkers and acquaintances left in the wake of time, some I thought were friends that have faded away. Lonely as I am, I was reminded recently that all is not lost, there are some exceptional people left in this world.

IMG_8857 (Large)

This is the TA truck stop in Commerce GA that I stayed at two nights ago. It’s not far from Atlanta where I picked up my return load to PA. As I’ve said before I generally choose TA stops due to their cleanliness and amenities. It’s been about five months since I was last here, and I went to the same restaurant as the last visit. Only a “Chain” restaurant but I like to treat myself once a week just to keep it interesting.

IMG_8860 (Large)

When I go out to eat I always sit at the bar for two reasons. I don’t feel the need to take a table that would serve many and I find the service faster at the bar. As I walk in I see the same young woman working that I remember from my last visit. When I sat down I could see the look of recognition in her eyes.

Mary is her name and she remembered me from my blog and the photographs I showed her on my last visit. I must admit I was a little stunned she remembered as most people in the service industry meet so many people It’s hard to remember a face after so long. They were not very busy and I showed her some more of my recent photo’s and blog posts.

When I told her of my fathers passing, and she read a few posts I had written about it, I could see genuine sadness in her eyes. It’s hard to explain how I felt right then, but I guess it borders on an understanding of how she was brought up, what her outlook on life is, what makes her an exceptional person. You might say, “How could you possibly know that in the moment”, but I say you can.

I think when you first meet someone there is a period of time when there is no mask, no false bravado or fake niceties. We tend to fall back on our upbringing and the lessons taught in being polite in society. I find this most evident in the south where family is still the most important part of the culture. Parents still take a greater hand in the raising of their children, instead of allowing teachers and modern culture impress ideals in young minds we may not agree with.

Church groups and an etiquette of modesty are more often the norm, not the look at me mentality that rules the airwaves and drunken clubs downtown. I may not be a religious person, but I can see the effect of that upbringing and the type of people it produces. I prefer them, to speak the truth, instead of the loose and free lifestyle of many younger people, or the bitter and angry middle aged souls that feel the world owes them something. I have felt the pull of that bitterness many times in the last few years but I am fighting with all my will to escape from it’s grasp.

IMG_8854 (Large)

As I walk Vinny on a dusty patch of grass I start to think about other exceptional people from my past. Mr Lowell my high school Asst Principal, Mr Mason my Jr high science teacher, and of course my parents. The person I am today is due in part to the things they taught me as a young boy. Some I remember well, some come back to me in a given situation, but all were vital to the stable and productive person I hope I have become. And to Mary’s mother I say thank you, you did a great job!

 

Thank You 

How about getting off of these antibiotics
How about stopping eating when I’m filled up
How about them transparent dangling carrots
How about that ever elusive kudo

[Chorus]
Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence

How about me not blaming you for everything
How about me enjoying the moment for once
How about how good it feels to finally forgive you
How about grieving it all one at a time

[Chorus]

The moment I let go of it was
The moment I got more than I could handle
The moment I jumped off of it was
The moment I touched down

How about no longer being masochistic
How about remembering your divinity
How about unabashedly bawling your eyes out
How about not equating death with stopping

[Chorus]

Thank You – Alanis Morissette

When I was young and selfish I had no use for thankfulness. I had the world by the balls, one single squeeze and my will would come to pass. My mind was unbridled by the stupidity of foolish adults, unclouded with the brutality of realism. I knew what must be done and no one was going to stop me.

And then I woke up…

Thank you dad for being the man you were, even though I was to blind to see the wisdom of your words. You never backed down from your responsibilities no matter what. You were a great man and I didn’t deserve you.

Thank you mom for the strength you have shown throughout your life. Even with all that you have endured your steadfast manor and positive attitude are a reflection of the well rounded person I am striving to imitate.

Thank you Cheryl my sister for taking such good care of our mother. I’m so happy she has your help in the most vulnerable time of her life when the help of family is at it’s greatest need. I respect you greatly, even if you wont talk to me.

Thank you Greg my brother for all the times you stuck up for me as a child, all the days you made time for me, even when I got in the way. Though we have grown apart to some degree, I always look forward to your calls and our limited time together. You will always be with me.

Thank you Kathy my sister for all the times you took care of Cheryl and I when we were kids. Even though I don’t remember much about those years I know you were a caring and steady hand when mom needed the help. For your efforts you should hold your head up high and remember your brother is thinking of you.

Thank you David my brother for the fun times we had when I moved to Dallas to get to know you. Even though you decided to move away from the family and broke off contact many years ago, I hope you are doing well. I will come looking for you again soon.

Thank you John my brother in law. You are the only person in my life that has treated me the same no matter what. Through all the years I could count on you to help me when I needed it the most, and you always treated me with respect even if you didn’t agree with my lifestyle. That says alot about you and I have nothing but respect for you to.

Thank you Sheldon and Dave, Ryan and Alex, Andy and Scott and all the other outstanding people I work with. This company has been nothing but kind and generous to me in my time of need. They have bent over backwards to accommodate my situation with my folks without hesitation and I am in their debt. Now I may be able to repay that kindness to some degree in the near future and I wholeheartedly embrace the challenge. More on that as it unfolds!

Thank you to all the friends I have made in the blog world. Your encouragement and support has helped me open up more in the last 2 years than I have in the 50 before! It truly has been a blessing to “Unload” all of this from my mind and gain a better perspective.

And lastly, Thank you to me for realizing it was time to embrace who I am. No more hiding behind false bravado, trying to fit in with people I didn’t really agree with, living a lifestyle that led only to grief and sadness. Thank you for coming to terms with all the pain, some self inflicted, that I have been living with and realizing it’s really all part of what makes me who I am. I now like who I am. Understanding I can’t fix all I have done, just strive to be a better person with the time I have left, make a difference that is worthy of the gifts that were given to me. I am the Weird Guy With The Dog and I am happy about it!

Fragile Lives, Shattered Dreams

When we were young the future was so bright
The old neighborhood was so alive
And every kid on the whole damn street
Was gonna make it big and not be beat

Now the neighborhood’s cracked and torn
The kids are grown up but their lives are worn
How can one little street
Swallow so many lives

[Chorus]
Chances thrown
Nothing’s free
Longing for what used to be
Still it’s hard
Hard to see
Fragile lives, shattered dreams

Jamie had a chance, well she really did
Instead she dropped out and had a couple of kids
Mark still lives at home cause he’s got no job
He just plays guitar and smokes a lot of pot

Jay committed suicide
Brandon OD’d and died
What the hell is going on
The cruelest dream, reality

[Chorus]
Chances thrown
Nothing’s free
Longing for what used to be
Still it’s hard
Hard to see
Fragile lives, shattered dreams

The Kids Aren’t Alright – The Offspring

I was just sitting in a truck stop restaurant having dinner and I overheard two young women, both in their early 20’s, discussing their lives in the booth behind me. One woman was very animated in describing her unhappiness with her relationship. She went on and on about he did this, he did that, he never this or that. I thought to myself how silly her complaints seemed to me, but is it just because I am male, or because I’m much older?

Why when her friend said just leave him and she countered with “but then I’ll have no money or car” did I feel like she just didn’t get it? She didn’t seem to realize how petty and shallow that sounded. Is she just that immature or does she see relationships as a way to get things? Is her self esteem so low that the thought of going it alone seem beyond the limit of her ability?

I will admit I was very much like her when I was young. My self esteem was so low I really didn’t understand my worth in this world, the value of my life was lost in the simple thinking of day to day existence. Without a goal, without a plan to achieve it, I was open to the influence of others looking to use me for their gain. Just as that young woman was using him for his car and paycheck, he was using her for sex most likely. I hope she wakes up sooner than I did and realizes the benefit to the world she could be if she just believed in herself.

I think the dreams of youth can be inflated by pop culture, social media, ideological professors, disconnected parents and other outside influences that can cloud a young and fragile mind. Too often we read stories of young “Snowflake” millennial’s that can’t adjust to the world outside of the collage cocoon, no “Safe Space” to run to so they wont be hurt by words or ideas they don’t agree with. Just because you have a degree in some social science dreamscape does not mean you will find a six figure salary your first day after graduation, or ever for that matter. I don’t feel bad that you now have a huge student loan, it’s your responsibility to pay it off not the government or the taxpayers. Welcome to the real world!

I don’t feel you need a degree in this world to make a difference. We all do our part to make things better in some way, even something as simple as holding the door for others has an impact. You don’t need a degree to check on your elderly neighbors instead of thinking “Meals on Wheels” or some other agency will insure they are fed and safe.  All the big ideals of Globalization has caused us to ignore the people in our small sphere of influence. We forgot what it feels like to truly help another individual on a personal level. I’ve done this in the past, and I’m going to do it again.

Every time I see a politician or celebrity on TV talking about this government program or that charity, how the children will suffer or the homeless are dying, it really makes me mad. I wonder if they ever directly bought some food for a poor family, brought a homeless person into their home and fed them? You can bet that NEVER has happened! No, they donate their time for the adds, hold a fundraiser for a charity, or just write a check. They go back to their gated community and congratulate themselves on how they made the rest of us look uncaring and mean spirited.

I’m afraid modern society in many ways has forgotten what it means to be a good neighbor, what it means to help someone directly. Oh there are those who volunteer at a soup kitchen or even join the peace corps and travel to Africa to help starving children. To them I say thank you for really giving it your all. But why can’t you start right here at home? Are not other countries responsible for their own destiny for the most part? Why should we neglect our own while sending billions overseas, sometimes to people who hate us? Am I wrong or does that just seem stupid!

I don’t hold out much hope that anything will change in the near future. Our leaders are so power hungry they are blind to the plight of ordinary people. They are so removed from reality that our voices are nothing but the incessant buzz of a house fly to be swatted. The saddest part of it all is that it’s our own fault. We keep blindly voting the same group back in time after time, even though we complain about the lack of results. Sounds like the definition of insanity to me!

What Is Wisdom, And Where Can I Buy Some?

We all would like to think we are wise, refined in our thinking, complete in our depth of thought. Bold in our actions with the assurance of our ability to discern the proper path, the right way of things. With our perceived knowledge of a sage and the foresight of a prophet we sometimes fall prey to our own misguided plans that lead to sorrow or pain. I have been down this road, sometimes more than once. After careful thought I believe the path to wisdom is found in the realization of our mistakes and the focus of thought in not perpetuating the same.

Over the past few weeks since my father died I have been caught in a battle between sorrow and hope, disbelief and fortitude. On one side I feel the loss of someone dear, a wound only now realized in it’s pain. On the other I feel the excitement of my plans for a fuller life, the freedom of the seas and the restless longing for travel. I feel torn as to how long to mourn before release, how long to wait till I no longer feel guilty for past sins. I am not as wise as I wish for I have no answer.

IMG_8469 (Large)

I question the wisdom of a job that can be very dangerous at times. One false move and my best friend and I could be injured or killed in the blink of an eye. I tell myself that the journey to happiness is fraught with danger. Only those who are willing to pay will succeed. Again, I hope I am right.

IMG_8533 (Large)

There are days when the majesty of the open road take my breath away, the beauty of nature overwhelms you and you feel like all is good in the world. Moments like this are the saving grace in my life, the recharge of my internal batteries I so need at this time.

IMG_8563 (Large)

When I drive in the early morning I feel a sense of peace as the sun rises. A new day has come, another chance to get it right. Even as I write this, tears well in my eyes with the hope of a future filled with the things I am most inspired by. Nature, photography, sailing, solitude, giving back to those in need. I will fulfill my goals no matter how long it takes.

IMG_8675 (Large)

While stopping at a rest area I notice these two trees. They seem so lopsided in the growth of their limbs, very few between them. It comes to me the simple wisdom of it. It make no sense to grow limbs in the shade of each other, better to send more limbs and leaves into the sunny side. So too should be my life. No more standing in the shade of despair. Better to stand in the light of hopefulness, basking in the glow of the brilliant light of another day. Better to squint in the sunshine than stumble in the shade.

PS: In a shocking LACK of wisdom, the hospital that last treated my father sent a package to my mother a week ago…in that package was my fathers false teeth. Even though they knew he was sent to hospice, they felt compelled to mail them. Unbelievable.

The Perceived Enlightenment 

img_8631-large

Weary am I as the sun fades through the trees. The daily crusade of miles and time demand payment, and stop I must to pay my dues.  A day of introspective assessment behind me now, the solace of quiet as the miles rolled by, only the rumble of the highway received by my ears.  As I nourish body and mind I reflect on my thoughts, search for the thread that binds them together. An index written to allow words to form, a ballet in type. Difficult is the task as eyes grow heavy.

I pondered the image of a life to date, lessons learned and some forgotten. Wiser than I have traveled the same, they too stumbled and fell. We go through life with a perceived enlightenment, a belief that we have the answers to many things, assured by experience we justify actions. Blinded are we who follow this path, trusting in a mindset befallen with error. Only with time can we see the image of truth, only with the acceptance that we know nothing can we truly see the light. Enlightenment comes from the realization we have much to learn.

img_8627-large

Just as this flower blooms with all it’s majesty and beauty, just when it has given it’s all, the hold it has in this world fades, back to the earth from which it came. So too is the life of us mortals, from dust we come and to dust we return. Just like the flower all we can hope for is do some small part to beautify this world, make at least one persons life better, if only for a moment. It’s never to late to make amends, never to late to learn more and build a book of wisdom to base the remainder of your life on, even share with those who seek the same. Like a favorite lyric from a song I know, these words hold great wisdom to follow, a belief to live by…“Life is a lesson, you learn it when your through.”

The Happiness Clause

I think we are all born with a life contract of sorts, replete with all the things that could happen to us in a lifetime. From the length of our lifespan to our quality of health, our disposition to our empathy for others all wrapped up in triplicate. But, like all contracts, in the fine print is the addendum, stipulations and clauses.

When we are young, we only glance at the contract. All we see are the platitudes like “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and other such quotes. We rush through everyday life with a selfish and single minded purpose, the mindset of immaturity governs the day. We fail to understand the complexities of our deal, the interactions that our daily decisions make on the totality of our existence. We don’t see the results of our actions on our lives and those we care about, sometimes until it’s too late. Such is the folly of youth.

As we mature we start to see the effect of our decisions on our lives and those around us. We start to realize how we neglected some of the most important people in our lives due to our blind trust in our ability to comprehend the impact we have on others. As we reread the contract we start to understand more of what it means to be an upstanding person, how foolish we were to think we had it all figured out. Hopefully we discover our mistakes before it’s to late. Sometimes, we fail miserably.

I am one of those miserable failures. I neglected my relationship with my father until it was too late, now I have to live with it. I think I could have recovered the lost time if I had put more effort into closing the rift between us, if I had been more of an adult than I was. Yes, I was struggling with my addictions, but that’s no excuse for my pushing him away when he wanted to improve our relationship. I shut the door on a time we could have both used the support only family can give, and I will die with that guilt.

Because I’m no quitter, I must accept my mistakes and move on. As I read my contract I see the “Happiness Clause” in the fine print. It says for me to find happiness I must understand what in my life is the most fulfilling, what brings me the most joy. I feel most people think happiness will be found in retirement after working their entire lives to build some sort of nest egg. They may see a home paid for, vacations overseas, golfing in the tropical sun and other such pursuits.

I will never have any retirement savings, no home or land, no nest egg. I can cry and bemoan my situation, or I can stop and realize I’m still better off than many, I still have enough time to make amends and achieve some sort of balance between the mistakes of my past and the time I have left. I have the opportunity to fill the remainder of my time on this earth with the happiness I feel when out in nature.

The majesty of a brilliant sunrise, the feel of a cool breeze on my skin. The gental sway of the tide as it imposes it’s will on the meager tether of my future sailboat anchored in a secluded bay. The simple understanding and friendship between a man and his dog as they while away the afternoon in the shade of a tree. The feel of a moment captured in a photograph, forever caught and brought back to life with each viewing.

My Happiness Clause can be appeased by accepting what has happened and focusing my will on what will be the best use of my remaining time. Only through diligence and persistence can one achieve a fulfilling life, understanding that it’s the simple things that can bring the most pleasure, the most reward. I hope that when we die, all the bad memories of our lives stay here, only the good ones go with us. Many people believe there is another life after this one, and if that’s true I hope I’m right. If I am, my father will wake up with all the joy and happiness he felt in this life, nothing of the hardships and pain he suffered, and I can think of nothing in this world I want more.

Suite Madame Blue

Time after time I sit and I wait for your call
I know I’m a fool but why can I say
Whatever the price I’ll pay for you,
Madame Blue

Once long ago, a word from your lips and the world turned around
But somehow you’ve changed, you’re so far away
I long for the past and dream of the days with you,
Madame Blue

Suite Madame Blue, gaze in your looking glass
You’re not a child anymore
Suite Madame Blue, the future is all but past
Dressed in your jewels, you made your own rules
You conquered the world and more, heaven’s door

Oh

America, America, America, America
America, America, America, America
America, America, America, America
America, America, America, America
America, America, America, America
America, America, America, America

Red white and blue, gaze in your looking glass
You’re not a child anymore
Red, white, and blue, the future is all but past
So lift up your heart, make a new start
And lead us away from here

Suite Madame Blue – Styx

My short time on this earth has taught me anything of real value comes at a price, nothing is free. It’s also taught me that time is fleeting, every moment of your life is to be cherished not squandered. When I look out over the vast stretches of Madame Blue, I see more than open ocean, seagulls and dolphins. More than the morning sun as it struggles to break free of Poseidon’s grasp. More than the foreboding feeling as waves grow tall with the setting sun, and the darkness once again takes control. I see my past being washed away in the wake of my sailboat. Each bad memory fading from view as I trim my sails and and stay true to the decided course.

It’s been just over a decade since I walked away from the lifestyle that held me in a prison of doubt and fear, a way of life fraught with anxiety and sadness. I feel I have grown more in that time then in all the time before. With a clear head I have looked at all the things I couldn’t see in my youth through the eyes of an outsider of sorts. No longer clouded by drugs I find I can play God with my past, slowly discarding the mistakes and fleshing out the real person that lies within. I feel an urgency to get my life in order before the future is past again. If you’ve never been in that place you can’t possibly understand the willpower it takes to turn away from the hold it has on you. I will never go back.

The passing of my father has shown me how much I still have to learn, how much I overlooked. Like many John Wayne characters, my father did not sit with me and teach me about life lessons he had learned, it was not his way. Instead he taught by example, though it took his death for me to see it. When I think of my struggles, then look to his past, I see no comparison. My fathers past was much more devastating than anything I have been through, yet he stayed strong and steady until the end. In his last days of life I watched his hold on this world slowly slip from his grasp, his body slowly melt away a little more each day. Even when he slipped into a coma, no food or water for over 8 days, he would not give up. My father was the strongest man I have ever known, and I will try to live up to his example.

I look to my future with hope for a change, thanks in large part to the lessons I have learned from both my parents. The sum of my experiences and the steadfast will both my father and mother have shown gives me the strength to carry on each day, the will to make my dream a reality in the near future. When my father is buried, his flag will come with me on my boat as a symbol of what it means to be a man, his lessons not lost on me. He will be with me in every storm, sunny day, distant anchorage and marina. I will remember how he never gave up, never backed down. Though his back was bowed with the burdens he carried, he gladly put that yoke on each morning and made his way through life with few complaints. I will do my best to become half the man he was.

img_8268-large

 

 

 

 

It’s Christmas In Maine

I started today just east of Harrisburg Pa, drove to Lewiston Maine and dropped the load I had on. I then drove to Bethel Maine to pick up the next one. By the time I arrived I did not have enough time to get to a truck stop for dinner so I’ll have to stay here. Here is a sawmill in western Maine, far from any store or restaurant, tucked away in nothing but a parking lot. Not what I had planned but this is trucking.

But lets take stock of the situation. I enjoyed a great sunset and a spooky ride through the mist on the way to Bethel. Vinny and I dine on “Beefaroni” and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and it tastes as good as any gourmet meal I have had. It’s not very cold tonight so I will leave the heat off, the windows cracked, throw on an extra blanket and sleep with thoughts of the stars above and the sound of the wind in the trees.

It’s times like this I remember how much I have, how silly it is to complain about the little things that cause us inconvenience. There are so many that will be hungry tonight, no warm bed to sleep in, no friends to share their lives with. I have these things and more. All is good in my world tonight and I’m thankful. Goodnight Maine.

img_7739-large

img_7751-large

img_7276-large

cropped-img_6020-large.jpg

I’m A Creep

When you were here before,
Couldn’t look you in the eye,
You’re just like an angel,
Your skin makes me cry,

You float like a feather,
In a beautiful world,
I wish I was special,
You’re so very special.[Chorus:]

But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo,
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here.

I don’t care if it hurts,
I want to have control,
I want a perfect body,
I want a perfect soul,

I want you to notice,
When I’m not around,
You’re so very special,
I wish I was special.[Chorus:]

But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo,
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here.

She’s running out again,
She’s running out…
She run run run run…
Run…

Whatever makes you happy,
You’re so very special,
I wish I was special…

But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo,
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here,
I don’t belong here.

Creep – Radiohead

I soooo relate to this song. This is the story of my life, the terribly awkward interactions I have with most people, especially women. Let’s be honest, I have had only 5 serious relationships in my 51 years, and one was my marriage that ended in divorce. I guess I should be proud of the fact I wasn’t a playboy, always looking for the next conquest. But that’s not the only truth to be told, the real truth is I really don’t like most people.

Even as a young boy I would always search out the hidden places, the spots where I could remove myself from society as a whole. The dark corners where my imagination could run free without the feeling of someone watching or judging me. As I grew into a teenager I came out of it to some degree. I was able to at least interact with small groups of like minded kids but in large crowds my anxiety was palpable. To this day I don’t feel comfortable in groups of more than 5 or 10 people, and if I go to a bar or restaurant I always get a corner seat.

I feel my best when I’m alone or with my dog Vinny. He truly is this mans best friend. You may think that is silly or even sad, but he is not judgemental, he’s always happy to see me, always ready to play or just hang. Never holds a grudge, knows when I’m sad, comforting and true. All the things I’ve never found in people. And yet, I’ve not given up hope, ever in search of a few people I can really relate to, true friends. In the cyber world of blogging, I think I have found a few.

Even though I have never physically met any of you, I FEEL your presence when I read your posts, when you comment on mine. I can see through your eyes when you talk of days filled with hope and joy, beauty and kindness. When I look at your photo’s I see what you saw, I’m standing beside you. I wish I could snap my fingers and we could all be together for an afternoon, sharing stories and sharing our time. Maybe someday we can.

Here’s to you Osyth, your the reason I’m still posting. Without your words of encouragement I would have walked away before now. Of all the people I have met through this blog, you are the one I WILL meet someday, and give you a hug…if mb2 doesn’t mind!

To my Outback friend Miriam, if I make it to the south pacific as I hope I will you can bet I will stop to see you. You have been following me almost from the beginning and that says alot. We both share a great joy of camping and being outside, and I look forward to your pictures around the campfire. Someday we will share the same fire.

To my sis Jessica, you seem like such a wonderfully spontaneous and naturally kind person. I’m floored by your outlook on life and dealing with the daily crap we all must face. I’ll bet you haven’t cursed once in your life! Your very sweet and genuine and maybe we can meet when I sail down the coast sometime soon.

And then there’s Kerry! You are so much fun! I will stop by when I sail to Louisiana and we can share dinner on my boat with you and your husband…if you dare! Not everybody feels comfortable on the water, so we can always stay at the dock. Anytime spent with you would be a joy.

There are many more, and I hope you don’t feel slighted, but these four friends have been there from the start. Always with a comment, words of encouragement and true kindness. That’s something I have not had alot of in my life and I thank you.