I’ve had a couple of surrogate fathers in my lifetime. Why? Because my own father was either on business trips, working, or wrapped up in his sports addiction. Even the bonding time we did have was surrounding his sports (going to hockey games, where he was in charge of the off the ice officials, fishing – where he required silence so he could drink beer and fish). When I became disabled at age 11, he was no longer able to teach me sports. He couldn’t relate. You get the idea.
I’d two surrogate fathers – Wayne Taysom, who had been my seventh grade homeroom teacher, and Kenneth Wells, my high school choir teacher.
Mr. Taysom and his Mormon family happened to live on my way home from high school. How fortuitous for me! Wayne and his lovely wife Jeanne would welcome me in whenever I stopped by. To talk, have a healthy snack, sometimes even dinner! In spite of the large family running around! (Come to think of it, Jeanne was a surrogate Mom, as well!)
Kenneth Wells was my high school choir teacher extraordinaire! He offered me one of the few highlights in my high school life, teaching me how to sing, read music, perform in the Baroque manner and how to appreciate such diverse music as J.S. Bach and Stan Getz. He pushed the Concert Choir into taking All State, and singing on Arizona State University’s Gammage Auditorium in 1970. It was one of the highlights of my life.
These men gave me both discipline and direction when my own Father was unable to.
I salute them!
…Actually, the beginning was last Halloween.
Yeah, I know, I can be a bit maudlin.
Time marches on, things change, people pass away.
It’s one thing when it’s an aged relative – that’s unpleasant, but expected.
But when it’s a child or a dear friend in their prime.
THAT’S when it gets me.
Recent Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas aside, now it gets more personal.
For the next six weeks, or so.
Today is Ground Hog Day. I hear tell he saw his shadow – six more weeks of winter. Perfect!
Yesterday was, by my recollection, Ground Hog Eve. Marked on my calendar to remember a dear friend.
As previously recounted in these pages, Mark passed in 2012 a from a sudden, unanticipated heart attack. We had gone shooting together the previous Sunday. His passing happened on Ground Hog Eve.
I have had many friends over the years. Mark was one of the best, the most kind, giving, and funny. A USN veteran.
His definition of guffaw remains at the top of this page in his honor.
I love you and miss you, my dear friend.
I don’t get out much. Between my physical limitations (being disabled and in chronic pain, low income, crummy car) and my mental ones (I’m just not that interested in so doing), I’m lucky to get to the credit onion, grocery store, a cheap restaurant and perhaps the library each week.
This is one reason my Internet access and computer are so important to me! My ‘window on the World’, as it were!
I’m essentially the ubiquitous pajama boy, except much older, more educated, and living in a rented room upstairs instead of a stereotypical basement.
And I’m less liberal.
In one of my travels, I met a nice couple. A psychologist and her office manager husband (not that that’s of any importance to this post). Marlo and Jon are both pre-eminent in their field.
And Marlo comes from a long family history of motorcycle riders.
In 2008, she was in an accident which changed her life. And almost ended it. A car turned in front of her. (Can you see why she got my attention?)
While hospitalized and in rehab, she wrote a blog, which she later coalesced into a very personal book regarding her Chautauqua from a person with addictions to one in recovery. Her story included the courage, loyalty and love of her partner and husband Jon – whom I have personally nick-named St. Jon after reading her book.
Anyone who has had love, loss, ‘challenges’, courage and been fortunate enough to have others to help with those challenges should read this story! Be forewarned – it is not always light reading.
But, there IS most definitely a positive message!
(FTC – I get nothing from Amazon I don’t pay for. Only friendship from Dr. Archer. Leave me alone.)
What have we learned from the events of this week?
We cannot control others. (as if we didn’t already know this!)
Politicians are maddening.
The World is crazy.
People pass away when they do. Something else over which we’ve no control.
Carrie Fisher. Many of us feel sad because we liked her irreverent spirit, and The Star Wars character. She was way too young.
And, of course, death reminds us of our own mortality.
Debbie Reynolds. Debbie is of course, more of my parent’s generation. But I grew up on many of her movies, and have an special fondness for Singin’ In The Rain. The dancing. The music. The comedy.
And the fact it came out the year I was born.
Debbie’s demise was no surprise to me. Nature says parents should not outlive their children. Except sometimes they do.
Both my (ex)wife and I did. Stating this is unpleasant is the understatement of a lifetime.
I understand how Debbie’s age and grief could precipitate strokes. And I felt for her. And mourn her passing.
We’re it not for blood pressure medication, I would be in stroke territory myself. And for a few years after the accident, I thought it a distinct possibility. And maybe hoped it would happen.
We’re on the cusp of another New Year. Hopefully, better than the last. You know what I’m going to say:
HOLD THOSE CLOSE WHOM YOU CARE ABOUT, AND TELL THEM YOU LOVE THEM – ESPECIALLY YOUR KIDS!
YOU NEVER KNOW…
♫ “When I’m Sixty Four”♫
Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight
If it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck & Dave
Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?
(apologies to Paul McCartney)
We lost MARK BELL.
My co-worker, shooting student, sounding board, reminder of things good, bon vivant, and loyal friend.
We had just attended Kevin Baker’s blogshoot the previous Sunday, and had spoken on the telephone, yesterday (four years ago – I cannot believe it’s been four years!).
Then his beloved wife Cathy called me tomorrow (four years ago) to tell me he had dropped dead from a heart attack suddenly yesterday.
Having almost lost Walter recently, this may be a little maudlin.
I don’t care.
PLEASE, tell the ones you love that you love them, and hug them, if at all possible.
Because you never know.
Walter and I have been friends for over 40 years. Walter
Not particularly close friends, or always in touch. But you can see from my previous blog post (the link above) that he is a good man and friend.
I received word from a mutual friend yesterday that he’s been going through some difficult times. To say the least. His beloved girlfriend Bettina of (10+?) years, who has had many health problems, passed away recently.
And Walter attempted to end his life. He is now in a rehab facility, due to the health problems linked to the medication used.
He is expected to be released Monday.
Walter’s apartment is infested with bedbugs – and they have sprayed so much insecticide that he cannot stay there for fear of illness.
Now he has no place to go.
His brother and sister are trying to help, but have their own limitations.
Please keep Walter in your thoughts, and if you pray, pray.
He IS a good man!
THIS JUST IN – I spoke with Walter last night. He seems to be doing okay, considering. He sounded medicated and very tired, and is using a walker. I told him I would check back often.
When I was visiting my Sister on Christmas Eve (accompanying my ex-wife, who is close with my niece and grand-nieces. Yeah, it’s weird, sometimes!) my ex told me she had been visiting earlier that day with her (deceased) youngest brother’s children. One of whom had a child, who married someone already with a child.
So, they are a step-parent, and by extension, I found out I am a great, great uncle!
Now I’m not particularly close to these folks, and don’t know over half of them, so my social obligation is limited.
But the label! And the fact it’s 2016! That makes me….(carry the one)….(removes sock to count toes)….going to be sixty-four this November!
And my ex already took note that I am graying (Thanks, M!)…
But, I am grateful for all I do have, and the fact I am on this side of the dirt nap.
So there’s that.
Tempus Fugit, my friends.
The third rock from the Sun has gone ’round yet again. And it’s reportedly now 2016!
Happy New Year?!
I must report, not much has changed for me in the past 365 days, save increased age and perceived infirmity.
Same (low) disability income, same crummy car, same rental room.
BUT, I continue to have friends and family, who support me spiritually, morally, and sometimes even financially!
And that has made all the difference!
My thanks to you all – you know who you are.
Who knows? Perhaps this year will be even better?
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Regular readers of this blog are familiar with my dislike of this holiday. NOT with the sentiment! 🙂
Make certain you hold each other close, honor each other, show each other you care and respect each other at todays gatherings.
And tell them you love them.
It’s not such a bad idea other days of the year, as well.
Because you never know…
And, it’s a good idea to make a list, even if it’s just in your head, of those things and people for which you are grateful.
I’ve a roof over my head, food in my belly, and a car – albeit a beater car. But she runs (kinda)!
Many people don’t have such things.
And today’s feast is traditional with me:
Salad, garlic toast, and mostaccioli!
and Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends, family and blogfriends™!