Just Jot it January # 21 Echo

“Echo” is the prompt word for today, brought to us by Lady Lee. Thanks, Lady Lee! Click here to find her JusJoJan post for today. And say hi while you’re there!

A message from Dr. King

I had a dream
with the world I shared it
that we’d embrace diversity
not run scared of it
please explain it to me
I have nothing but time
how ending the lives of each other
honors the memory of mine
I fought without fists
without anger or spite
I called for equality and love
not to spill into the streets and fight
I reached out in peace
extended my hand
hoping to set an example
that would echo throughout the land
yet still we fight
we hate and we label
to see beyond the color of skin
we seem hopelessly unable
I left this earth many years ago
but I still watch from above
as my dream remains just that
in the absence of brotherly love
we must come together as one
recognize hatred as cowardice
that labeling a man by his skin
is a terrible injustice
it’s never too late
to right this wrong
when we walk and live hand in hand
that will be my victory song

#Jus Jot it January #15

It was a Sunday morning. The Pastor, tired of the same old services decided to mix things up a bit.

He announced to the small congregation that he was going to pick a topic and get the attendees involved.

“Today, I am going to talk about the wonderful institution of marriage”. He surveyed the room and asked, “Is anyone here approaching a wedding anniversary of more than 25 years?”

A small, elderly man slowly rose in the back row and said, “Me.”

“Tell us”, asked the Pastor, “How many years have you been married?”

“Almost 50 years” the man replied.

“Wow.” The pastor proclaimed. “Care to share any secrets to your longevity?”

“Well,” the man said, I like to take my wife on trips. For example for our 25th anniversary I took her to Paris.”

“And what do you have planned for your 50th?”

“I’m going to go and bring her back!”

Just Jot it January #14–Reflection

Today you are this

tomorrow you’ll be that

do you want to be skinny

or live with being fat

should you smoke or not

because a girl thinks it’s hot

how important is it to be cool

or is conformity for fools

are you a tough guy

one who’s afraid to cry

or a sensitive chap

that cries in his lap

what are your passions

do you care about fashion

do you have opinions

just like the minions

will you stand up and fight

if you know you are right

or will you just go along

follow the mindless throng

even if they’re wrong

there’s so much riding

on whom you are siding

on style and trends

on who you call friends

it may take you a while

to find your own style

friends who like you for you

and all of the things that you do

that’ll let you write your story

in all your weird glory

there’s no one like you

to your uniqueness always be true

at the end of the day

being you is OK

you may have trouble finding

and may need some reminding

that the proper direction

is in your reflection

for nothing speaks clearer

than the man in the mirror

#SoCS & #JusJoJan 2019 Daily Prompt – Jan. 12th

The prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “art.” Talk about something that’s hanging on your wall. Add a picture, if you’d like. If you have no art on your walls, talk about something in a museum. Have fun!

Something hanging on my wall

There are many items that adorn the walls around me as I compose this post. I really can’t single one out for they share a connection. They all make me think of my father.

I am in my favorite place to write, the finished basement of my mom’s house. Originally purchased as a summer home, the small chalet was expanded and remodeled into a full house by the time they retired up here in 2001. It went from “the summer home”, to “my parents house”, and now that my dad has passed it is known as “mom’s house.”

Nothing says more about my father than this house. He dedicated time and money he didn’t have to make it perfect. A house that his wife would be proud of (her opinions mattered on every detail in every room), that his kids could bring his grandchildren, and one that he could grow old in. The finished basement was his last accomplishment. I love the entire house, his touches are everywhere. But none so much as this room, it’s my favorite place to be.

As I look around the room the first thing I notice is the curio cabinet. He built it special for mom to put her amazing collection of curios. It is a one of a kind, like him.

My attention is then drawn to the painting of his favorite view. It is a path in the woods, near here, that is entirely covered by a perfectly formed canopy of tree branches. In the summer, it is a cool respite from the heat. In the fall, it is a panorama of colors. In the winter the bent, snow-covered branches form a winter paradise. He took a photo of it once and a friend painted it for him. What a wonderful gift.

Next there is a professional photo of he and my mother. In happier times. His arm around her with a big, genuine smile. He loved her so much he didn’t have to say “cheese”. Her smile speaks volumes also. She doesn’t smile like that anymore. Her smile now is forced, a result of loss, grief and a steadfast resolve to not show how much pain she is hiding.

The next wall is a collage of dog portraits. All spaniels, his favorite. In my life we had 2 Brittany Springers and 3 Cockers. Like cars, he went with what works and Spaniels never let him down.

The last thing I see is on the mantle. A case containing a folded flag that was handed to me at his funeral, by a sharply dressed soldier on behalf of a grateful nation. He never talked about his military service, other than where he was stationed. I will never know much of what he saw. But I know that he volunteered, during the age of the Draft, and he wouldn’t imagine not doing his part for the country he loved so dearly.

The rest of the room contains a lot of cutesy décor, my mother’s touch. Porcelain and wood carved Mallards, embroidery portraits of puppies and various stuffed versions of woodland creatures adorn the room. Mom knows how to cutesy up anything.

Still, in this room I just see Dad everywhere. In the actual sense. I often sleep here, and many times I have awoke to the sensation that he is in the room.

While unlikely, I wish he was. He completed this room soon before he died. He never got to grow old here, which was his goal. He worked so very hard his entire life and never got to enjoy the spoils. It’s really not fair, but he would be the first person to tell me that life never is. He had working man’s wisdom.

What I wouldn’t give to talk to him for just 5 more minutes. If not in this realm then in the next. Until that somehow happens, I have plenty of reminders. They’re hanging on the wall.

Just Jot it January day # 11

The prompt for JusJoJan 2019, January 11th is brought to you by M! Click here to find her last SoCS post and say hi while you’re there! M’s word for our prompt today is in SoCS style: “flew/flu/flue.” Use one, use them all, use them anywhere in your post or make one or all the theme of your post. Have fun!


The doctors stood over him
his family sat helplessly by
all they could do was wait
it had been 2 days
since he had last opened his eyes
what they couldn’t see
behind the closed lids
and the motionless body
was the battle raging within
he had won many before
but he had met a worthy opponent
who had the upper hand
the choke hold was on
he was about to tap out
a peace like no other
washed over his body
relaxation coursed through him
the pain was gone
he could see but not move
he helplessly watched
as his spirit materialized
in a mystical wisp of smoke
and spiraled up and out
as if headed up a chimney flue
when he suddenly heard
a faint and faraway voice
whispered through clasped hands
Don’t leave us Dad
I love you so much
it was then that he found his fight
gasped and inhaled with all of his resolve
drew his fleeing soul back in
trapped it in his lungs
and slowly opened his eyes
he saw before him
a translucent eagle
staring intently at him
it lifted its gaze
and flew away on sheer wings
he had won again
the death bastard defeated
let the healing begin

#Just Jot it Jan Day # 10

Today’s prompt for JusJoJan 2019, January 10th is brought to you by Toortsie! Click here to find her last post and say hi while you’re there! Toortsie’s word for our prompt today is “sunrise.” Use it anywhere in your post or make it the theme of your post. Have fun!

As I have laid my head on my pillow each night, for as far back as I can remember, I had a veritable highlight reel of fuck-ups to keep me awake. Every thing that I’ve done in my life, from verbal faux pas’ to outright embarrassing episodes, played on repeat mode in my head, ensuring a bad nights sleep.

This is what happens when you are wrapped tighter than a 24 hr Convenience store sandwich. You don’t get in fights. You don’t need to when you’re way above the curve in the pugilistic art of beating the shit out of yourself.

Eventually, as my illness caused my Blood Pressure to escalate to dangerous levels, I was forced to pick and choose what I would become aggravated about. I could no longer afford to harbor resentments, to dwell on the past, and get too caught up in the omnipresent stresses of Management. My job was stressful and difficult so this was no small task. I achieved a meteoric rise in my company and I had a lot of people wishing, and sometimes trying to cause me to fail. I can now admit that I was a bit paranoid. Not “shhh…the Gummint is watching me” paranoid, but instead the “when I’m at a football game and the team is in the huddle they’re talking about me” kind of paranoid. I had to learn not to look behind me, but ahead.

I was pretty successful in dealing with the stressors in the present. I had learned to walk away and not engage unless I really needed to. I could say to myself “not worth it”, “not my circus, not my monkeys”. Not so much, however, when it came to reconciling my past. I continued to ruminate over past goofs and never allowed myself forgiveness.

Until recently. The stress thing has resolved itself. I’m now out of work and my only stressor is what I’m having for dinner this evening (I am downplaying it a bit but you get it). I have forgiven myself. Having been unburdened by disability the possibility of career or financial security I now have easy, attainable goals.

I want to maintain the wonderful relationship I have with my children.
I want to get through dialysis without getting gravely ill (again) and get a new Kidney.
I want to interact with my fellow man in a courteous, compassionate, and respectful manner.
I want to always be looking up and around, not down at the ground, because I don’t want to miss a single thing to be grateful for.

Now, if I find myself tossing and turning all night, I have the benefit of looking at the skyline at dawn, which is the glory and the beauty of each new day. With every sunrise comes a new opportunity to make a day that is better than the one before.

When you don’t know how many days you actually have left, the beautiful glow of the rising sun means a whole lot more.

Making amends

When I worked at the finance company I was presented with some difficult but wonderful challenges. The company was going through some growing pains and I was immediately tasked with some big issues. Their need was in the “back end” of the business. That is a nice way of saying “repo”.

When I joined the company they were being inundated with cars coming back due to bad loans. My background in appraisals and remarketing proved to be a valuable asset. I had connections with auctions all over the country, offered alternative outlets such as salvage auctions and private sales, and I created a valuable network of tow companies.

One particular tow operator was a local guy named Mike. I essentially inherited him when I joined the company but his role was minimal and I expanded it. I always try to do business with a local guy, it’s just good business.

Mike is a really likable guy, the kind of person I enjoy doing business with. He was a independent with one truck but willing to work all day to earn a living. I gave him a lot of tows. He did a pretty good job for me for a few months and then I began noticing a side of him that didn’t work for me…he “Yes’d” me to death and wasn’t honest about his availability. He was growing his business through AAA tows and had begun to fall behind. He failed to tell me that he hadn’t gotten to previous assignments while gladly accepting new ones, which chaffed my ass greatly. I had to cut him back.

It wasn’t long before Mike came to see me in my office to apologize for his underwhelming performance. We talked at length. I told him how the demands of my job required a more reliable transporter and that I would keep him on but on a more limited basis. He reached across my desk with his big, greasy hand and shook mine, thanking me. He was hard not to like.

Mike continued to work for me for many years and was of great service on the AAA end of things helping me and my family with our five cars.

One Saturday I was getting ready to go out and my car wouldn’t start. I tried jumping it, it was dead. I called Mike and asked him if he could help. He was there in 15 minutes.

He pulled in with his rusty old Ford pickup, his dog and wife in the cab with him. I said hi to his wife, a very unpleasant and morbidly obese woman who I had never seen smile. She grunted in my direction.

Mike somehow got my car started. I asked him if he took credit cards. He didn’t. I was at a loss. I had no cash on me. He said don’t worry about it, remarking that I give him so much work that it more than worked out. I sheepishly thanked him.

His wife scowled at me.

I always felt bad about that day. Yes, I did give him a lot of work but I should have been able to pay him. I lost my job soon after. Mike and I lost touch.

Last week I saw on FB that he had a birthday. It caused me to reflect on my past dealings with him and how much I liked him. I decided that it was time to right a wrong. I took out my checkbook and made out a check for $100.00. I grabbed my stationary and wrote a short note.

Mike, I always felt bad about never paying you for the AAA service years ago. You’re a good man and you deserve better. Please accept this check as good will for a good deed.
Take care,
Bill

I mailed it that day. He FB inboxed me 3 days later thanking me. He said I shouldn’t have. I disagree.

My mother likes to tell me that I am determined to spend every penny I have. What she doesn’t get is that I am charitable within my means and I am not afraid to make amends.

Besides, the check to Mike isn’t about money.

It’s about respect.