Sunday, July 31, 2016

Another town along the road

There's a quote attributed to Teresa of Avila that is downright profound.

"More tears have been shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones."

Think about it. 

Somebody said time is the great equalizer, the great healer. I do know it gives you perspective.

Have you ever wanted something so badly you could taste it? Couldn't live without it. And if it didn't work out, you were fairly certain the sun wouldn't rise in the eastern sky the following morning?

Well, now.

I look back on things that didn't turn out the way I wanted and can now honestly say, "Thank God." But, having said all this, I've come to believe that it's a detour, a speed bump, an unexpected delay.

My friend Stephanie posted something on Facebook earlier that I like very much:

"Never get caught up in the final destination because it's the road that leads us there that shapes us, teaches us, breaks our hearts, and gives us great joy. It is too often that we reach that destination without enjoying the trip and think, "Now what?"

Fretting about the uncertainties of tomorrow does nothing but make you miss the beauty of today's sunset.

Disappointments are never easy. Sometimes they arrive at the worst possible moment. But it's how you handle them that count. You might've dodged a bullet. And they make the good times taste so much sweeter.

I feel like I'm not effectively communicating what I want to say, so I'll do what I often do and borrow a song lyric.

"And when you stop to let 'em know you've got it down, it's just another town along the road."

Friday, July 29, 2016

My long, strange trip

What a long, strange trip it's been since last we met.

Let's see if I can still do this.

I'm not going to rehash where I've been. Those who care can find that here on page A-3. This post is more about the present and the future.

Taking baby steps like I am, I thought the thing to do was scribble some when I can. I can't promise it will be every day for awhile. Maybe not every week. But I'm going to try.

So many surprises sustain me. Conversation. Coffee. Books. Beauty.

 My friend Rheta has a porch -- an honest-to-goodness porch -- on which people sit and talk and eat and drink and laugh and cry. I've said for years that air conditioning, while I'm thankful for it, ruined the South. Everybody went into the icebox and stopped talking -- to their neighbors and, half the time, to each other.

Remember those scenes in "To Kill A Mockingbird"? Scout and Atticus swinging on the front porch, sounds of a summer night sweetening the soundtrack? I got to hear such a thing a couple of months ago, and I was rejuvenated.

I always joked that the title of my memoir (how pretentious is that idea??!!) would be something about an introverted extrovert. While I need my solitude, I gather my strength from others. Oh, how I've missed seeing so many of you, swapping stories and such.

It got lonely being in this place by myself. I couldn't read or write or watch TV, so radio kept me company, just like it did when I was little. Jack Benny and Jean Shepherd and Johnny Dollar joined me after sunset, lights turned low. That's the best time to listen to the radio, you know. Not for music. I couldn't listen to that anyway. I'm talking about real radio, the so-called golden era, the theater of the mind, Norman Corwin called it.

So I'd listen to Fred Allen or Ethel and Albert, who later became "The Couple Next Door," and baseball and Bing Crosby. Just like before, it was yesterday once more.

And you know something? I never have gotten back to watching television regularly. I've barely missed it. What little convention coverage I could keep down (from both parties now, don't get angry; I'm just a purple guy in a political era dominated by deep hues of red and blue) on the radio. The other night I drifted off to dream listening to Tom Snyder talk to Darren McGavin.
Guess that's enough for now. I'm just glad to be able to stand in the sun again. Don't ever take anything for granted -- especially not your health.

Well, I gotta go. Jack and Rochester are joshing one another, and I'm sure Shep will have something to say. He always did.

Hopefully, in the coming days and weeks, I will too.