Monday, November 24, 2014

Ferguson

As a rule, I don't normally comment on social issues, although I have done so in the past. Tonight, we await the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri on the killing of a black teenager by a police officer. Is it a tragedy? Yes. Do I have a pretty good idea of what will happen after the announcement? Yes again.

The problem is no one on the outside has all the facts. They think they know, but they don't. To that end, the crowds will react, likely with brutality and rage if the police officer is not charged. It is unfortunate that many times when a black person is killed by a police officer, it is not taken by the black community that it could actually be the fault of the black citizen, be it a teen or an adult. The police officer is always at fault. He or she is not given the same consideration of innocence they demand for their own. Why is that?

Police are in place to keep order. Police usually patrol areas where there is disorder and crime. In my opinion, if you get into a scuffle with a police officer, whether you are guilty or not, you should understand you risk getting tased or even shot. If you get into a fight with police, you are a stupid human being. I understand the history of blacks in this country. I've been alive for a long enough time, and grew up in the sixties during the start of the civil rights push. Do I agree with equal civil rights? Oh, absolutely. However, there will always be pockets of uneducated bigots where ever you go, be it north, south, east or west. It is an aspect of being human. Most gravitate to those like themselves.

I'm fairly certain what will happen if the police officer is not charged by the grand jury. The streets of Ferguson will become a riot zone. Businesses will be looted, windows broken and televisions stolen. What does that have to do with a grand jury probe? Nothing. The people of Ferguson will do nothing but hurt their cause and the cause of blacks and civil rights everywhere in the eyes of the rest of the country if they again clash with police. If you want to protest, protest. Carry signs and yell your disagreement with the decision. Anyone who simply takes advantage of the situation to riot, is simply hurting their own community and the small business owners trying to provide a service to the community and eek out a living.

If that comes to pass, I for one, won't feel sorry for them or their cause. Protesting is a right guaranteed to each citizen, but rioting is nothing but wanton blood-lust, and it's about time the leaders who demand equal treatment under the law, and rightfully so, begin to understand this.


Monday, November 17, 2014

A Thanksgiving treat

I usually try not to plug my books a ton on my blog, well, at least as far as posting about them. If you didn't notice, they do line the margins. You did notice, didn't you?

Anyway, for the next two weeks through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Sands of Nevertime, the first book of The Last Elf Prophecy series is on sale for ... a dolla ninety-nine ($1.99). That's 33% off the regular price. Hey! What a deal!

In all seriousness, for those who have followed along with this blog for the many years I've gone on rambling about things, this is my little gift to you. I hope those who truly enjoy the fantasy genre will give it a try. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving season, or whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year.


 Sands of Nevertime at Amazon.com

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bag it

Well, my first vacation, stay-cation in six months leaves me the tasks of all the things I haven't had a chance to do for months. Not that I mind. I like working around the house. Not that I wouldn't mind a beach-filled trip somewhere, but cleaning the basement and insulating the garage is task work that I enjoy. It feels productive.

The basement is challenging because of what it is. It is a gathering spot for all the things we save. This year we cleaned out much of our largest crawl space, some things tossed while others gave us a little jingle in our pocket from a yard sale. As I tackled the smaller space today, I looked at what was there. Although this is where our seasonal things are, much of it can go away. I like 'go away'.

But, why is it there in the first place? I come from a time where we saved things. My Beloved did as well. We weren't well off, and we could generally find a use for something down the road. It's the, "I think this could be used" mentality. I am very guilty of this when it comes to the workbench. Since I fix things on my own, my mind tends to work this way. Unfortunately, that mentality has worked its way to other things.

As I pulled out the decorations for the upcoming seasons, I kept pulling out bags. Bags? Yes. Bags. We have red bags and blue bags and now-dingy bags from places we traveled to. They'll come in handy. Well, they didn't. They've sat in the crawl for a decade. Guess what? It's time they go away. The truth is, they are just now in the way. They hold no memory of what they were. They just are. They take up space. They need to be moved to get to something else. They are clutter.

One of the great joys of getting older for me is finding you no longer need much of what you have accumulated over the years. All that stuff becomes an anchor around your neck. When you think of the Christmas decorations we all have, how much of it really comes out? We likely leave 2/3 rds of ours in the tubs they are stored in. Each year we think our homes will become the showcase for the season. We'll have the perfect holiday because we will decorate to the nines. But then we don't. It's a chore, and then we have to take it down again.

Of course, I can't just start pitching things. My Beloved certainly has a say in what stays and what goes. This river I travel is her life as well; we paddle with two oars and not one. But we've both come to the realization that we aren't dirt poor and we don't need to save every scrap. Some things hold memories and anchor us to the past, while others are nothing more than an anchor to our happiness.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Left behind

Today was a day like any other. Well, almost. Today I forgot to take my cell phone with me when I left the house to go to work. (Does it make me sound old if I say 'cell phone'? Should it just be 'phone' or 'cell'?) Anyway, there I was winging it along the highway on my way to work.

"Crap", I thought. How am I going to call My Beloved on my way if I don't have it? What happens if I get in a wreck? What happens if I get a flat tire? What happens if someone texts me on my way in? What happens if someone calls and can't get hold of me?

You know what? None of that mattered. I was free! I was liberated from the cell; liberated from the constant contact the world now expects from everyone. If it were within the realm of possibility, I would almost certainly give it up. I do however, need it for work. That is the drawback. Other than that, I didn't need it. No one called me at 6:15 in the morning. I didn't get in a wreck. I didn't have a flat and I'm certain My Beloved wasn't up to answering the phone that early in the morning anyway. Calls very early or very late usually mean bad things have happened.

You know what? It felt good! We have turned our lives into one, giant connected mess. What happened fifty years ago when someone had a flat tire? The got out of their car and fixed it. They didn't feel the need to call or text everyone they knew to let them know what happened. So you had a flat? Who cares? It wasn't a crying spectacle the whole world needed to see or hear about. Needed to call me? My work has a phone. Text me? See previous sentence.

The world doesn't need all the drama and hysterics many use their cells for. I for one, was glad to have left it behind for a day. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Asleep

This is a little longer of a ramble than I usually write. I try to keep them short and simple. After all, most would think I'm rather simple. *insert smiley face here*. This is a piece of flash fiction I wrote this afternoon. It is more of a writing exercise in first person. I shared this with my Facebook friends earlier today, so I thought I would share it with the rest of the internet. I hope you enjoy.


To Fall Asleep


  The wind that had punished me throughout my walk lessens, the snow now falling softly from the black, night sky. How I miss the stars of summer, their warm light both a blessing and a curse to my eyes. Would I have had a different path on life’s walk, I would certainly have wished to count the stars among them. But it was not to be; such was not my road, a farm boy from the Midwest who dreamed of greater things.
   My tattered coat surrounds me in warmth, shedding the chill that swirls about the street corners, their asphalt surface hidden beneath soft powder. My boots push through it easily, though it clings to me just below my knee. I feel its presence against my skin, a touch, a kiss to let me know it shall invade my world should I hesitate. I pull my cloak tighter as I trod these sullen, winter streets of a place I now call home, a place I have no attachment to. It is only the place I live, the place that shelters me.
   The barren streets are sparsely lit by the occasional lamp that throws its soft luminescence into circles upon the shadowed snow. It is only the hidden rolls, the curbs of this urban environment that take my attentions from my meandering path. Much like the varmint holes of an unplowed field in the days of my youth, they alone conspire to slow my progress, to press me to falter. I shake the powder from my hair, my beard now as white as that of an old man at the end of life’s journey.
My thoughts drift back to this day, this day a year past. It is but a carbon copy of what was; the brisk winds rambling down the city streets as winter’s white laid its blanket again across the cityscape.

   My hands caress her warm cheeks as I brush away the snow from her face. I lift her head as gently as I would a newborn, held within the touch of a mother’s grace, and cuddle her softly upon my lap. I pull back her tangled, pepper-black hair, letting her face glisten in night’s stillness. Her eyes search for meaning as she looks past my face into the dark sky. I shelter her from the cold flakes as I hold her head.
   “Who’s there?” she whispers.
   Her lips tremble as her words slip into the night. Her breath rises in a soft cloud and I feel its warmth upon my cheeks.
   “Is that you, Peter?”
   “It is, my love.”
   “Oh Peter. What has become of me?”
   “It’s okay. I’m here. I’ll always be here. We’ll always be together.”
   “It won’t be that way for long. I won’t be here.” Her eyes focus on my face for a moment, perhaps a last fleeting memory before she looks again to the heavens hidden behind the overcast night.
   “I’ll be here with you always,” I reply.
   “Peter, do you remember that day we went down to the shore? It was such a lovely time.”
   “I can still feel the warmth of the sun on my face. You were so beautiful.”
   “You make me blush, Peter. I was never that pretty. But, but you always made me feel that way.”
   “You were always my first love. You know that.”
   “I wasn’t though. There was another before me.”
   “There was never anyone before you.” I brush the flakes from her dark eyelashes as I peer into her eyes. “Once you find your forever person, there is no one before, no one after.”
   “Peter, do you see the sun? I feel it. It feels so warm.” She rolls her head toward me. I see the strain it takes for her to do so. “I’ve missed the warmth, Peter. I’ve been cold all day.”
   “I’m holding you now, love.” I press my cheek down to hers. Her skin is flush with night’s chill. I will hold her life little longer. “Just feel the warmth of my touch, that touch we have shared for a lifetime.”
   “Do you hear the water, Peter? Can you see it? See how it rushes to our feet? It makes my toes feel numb.” She blinks, her lashes depositing a white dusting on her cheeks. They linger for a moment before her fading warmth turns them to a tear rolling down her cheek.
   “I wish our daughter’s wedding would have been on the beach. I tried, you know.”
   “I know, my love.” I wipe the remnants of the tear from her face. “I remember.”
   “Such a day it was. God had given us that day, Peter. She should have been married at the beach.”
   “You would have gotten wet in the surf.”
   “I wouldn’t have minded.” Her eyes find me once again, an inquisitive look on her face. Her lips relax as a smile embraces her. “Remember how beautiful she was?”
   “I’m cold, Peter.”
   “I know love. You’ll be warm soon.”
   The darkness that surrounds us begins to reflect a new reality, harsh and penetrating. The azure lights create a pattern of chaos in our once silent world. Commotion fills the void that encompasses us.
   “Peter? What’s going on?”
   “Just the lights of the city, my love.”
   I turn as I hear the sounds of footsteps rushing through the powder, shoes scraping against the pavement beneath. A dark figure now looms above me as I cradle her in the soft snow.
   “Is everything all right?” The police officer kneels down beside me as he tilts his cap away from his face. “Is she okay?”
   “Peter? Who’s here?”
   “Just a friend, my love.” I brush my fingers against her cheek as she looks again to the night sky, the falling flakes blue against the flashing strobe.
   “Is there anything I can do?”
   I shake my head, knowing it is only a matter of time.
   “Peter? What is that light?”
   “What light, my love?”
   “It’s beautiful. It’s warm, Peter.” She rolls her eyes to me again, scanning my face. “Are you coming with me, Peter?”
   “Not tonight, my love. But I will join you soon.”
   “I love you Peter.”
   I watch as her face turns to the side and her eyes close for the final time. I am at a loss, a numbing sense of emptiness begins to overtake me as I feel a hand upon my shoulder.
   “I’m sorry for your loss.” His voice is strong, but I know his words ring true. “I’ll call and we’ll get her moved inside.”
   “Thank you.”
   “What’s her name, Peter? I’ll need it for the reports.”
   “I don’t know her name, and my name isn’t Peter.”
   “But ... “
   “I’ve never seen her before tonight.”

   I remember that night a year past so vividly. It was a night like any other winter’s night in a cold city. I push through the snow, the soft powder that covers a harsh world nothing more than the blanket in which we wrap ourselves to fend off the night.



Friday, September 19, 2014

Room for one more

This year begins a new path for someone very special to me. My grandson, Ragin Cage begins his first year of school, kindygarden actually. I was sceptical as to how well he would adjust. He has always been a free spirit, a wanderer. He is one to explore the world around him. It is a trait we share. He doesn't sit still for more than a few minutes unless he falls asleep. When he visits us, even the television doesn't slow him down much.

This would be so different for him, a rigid (sort of), highly structured environment. The one thing that I was sure of however, was that he would make friends. He loves to be around other kids, often those a little older than himself due to his half-brother. He loves to be around him. They play and rough and tumble it all the time. When he sees others kids, he makes a bee-line for them. They are always his new best friends.

But to my surprise, he seems to have fit in well and is becoming used to an organized routine. He has a new best friend from school who has already played and been a guest at his house. It is tough to watch from afar. I know he will do well. He's a smart little boy with a big heart.

Now, he will be exposed to so many new things, so many new adventures with learning and classmates. I just hope there is still room for his Paw-paw.