Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Mr. Waffles has left the building

 I may have written about Mr. Waffles before, I think so but I'm too lazy to go back and check honestly. That being said, it was a sad day for your home a couple days ago. Let me explain.

Three years ago when one could still go out in public and attend festivals and such, we happened to go to a popular fair festival in September. It was a beautiful day, the sun was high but not too hot. It was a great day to stroll around. My Beloved, my son and grandson hit the main thoroughfare of the event and did what people do there. We hit the food stands and played the carnival games. 

Now, most of those games are difficult to win, especially when the player is only about nine years old. We tried several before stopping at the game where you toss a ping pong ball into the center of the tent and try to land in a fish bowl. Well, guess what happened...Ragin Cage won a fish. Yep, we left our prize there since it was still early in the day and picked up our trophy on the way out.

It is well known that most of these goldfish don't live very long after you get them home. So, we stuck him in a bowl, we assume it was a him but never verified that gender, and let him swim around. He was given the moniker of Mr. Waffles. The next several months we were surprised he was still living. We took care of him the best we could until finally, I couldn't take it any longer and I went out and purchased small aquarium for him to have a proper home.

It was around Christmas, I think. With another quick trip to the pet store soon had the small tank decorated with green gravel and three plastic plants. It was pretty. But the saga doesn't end there. Mr. Waffles didn't have much to do by himself so being the softy I am, I decided he needed a buddy, so another trip to the pet store to get another goldfish. This one was more colorful that just gold and the two became fast friends. 

I forget the name of the new goldfish, I'm sorry to say but it livened up the tank for a time until he was found on the kitchen floor on morning. Somehow he had hopped out of the tank and fortunately he survived, but he was never quite the same. Since then, Mr. Waffles has been living out his life alone. It has been a few months and I was contemplating getting him another companion, but then, to our surprise, Mr. Waffles too was found flopping on the floor several days ago. My Beloved quickly scooped him up and plopped him back into his tank. We had no idea how long he had been out.

Again, we could tell our prize wasn't the same. He was acting oddly, floating in peculiar positions and we could tell he wasn't going to last. Finally, three days ago, the little carnival fish that we thought wasn't supposed to live more than a couple months left us after three years. It was a sad day but I am glad he came to a peaceful end.

Thank you for your time with us, Mr. Waffles. Till we meet again.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

We Never Learn

 I had planned to post about something different this week, however with the events now happening in Europe, my thoughts have changed.

As I am a bit older, I come from a generations whose parents took part it the most horrific conflagration in human history. World War II left virtually no one in the world untouched by its reach. Even as events were discovered after the actual fighting stopped, the depths of human depravity were stunning. 

However when you get down to it all, WWII was about territory, greed and power, a thirst that somehow never seems to be quenched. In the wars since the mid-twentieth century, they have nearly all been skirmishes in comparison, but the underlying reach for power and territory still remains. With smaller, less prosperous countries with limited resources, I can almost understand the want, the need to expand territory for resources and the betterment of the country. 

But, this is 2022. The world is a different place than it was seventy years ago, fifty years ago and even twenty years ago. Have we not learned from our past, a past of war and greed? What is it that drives someone like Vladimir Putin to launch an invasion of a neighboring country? He is a lingering part of the old guard that clawed his way through the cold war and the fall of the Soviet Union, only to retain his power. He is a reflection of what was, what the world needs to leave behind. There is no reason in this century for a power such as Russia to bring Europe to the brink of another war. 

The world is more global than ever before. Whether we like it or not, we are tied to each other for good or bad. What affects one country often affects others in some manner. How have we not put blatant territorial grabs behind us as a species? How do the memories of atrocities of war not prevent futures wars? Apparently those memories are for others to lament and languish in and not for those who thumb their noses at the lesser inhabitants of the world who bear the brunt of such actions.

When will we learn? Will we ever learn?

Sunday, February 27, 2022

A Sense of Yesterday Lost

 I recently had the chance to read a post by a long-time author friend Mona Ingram. https://www.monaingram.com/they-say-you-cant-go-back/

Her post was a repeat of one she had written several years ago that I had not had the chance to see. It recounts her time in the Hawaiian Islands from many years ago when she lived in the islands. What struck me was how her post read, how she framed the time, how it recounted a world we seem to have lost. 

As I thought on her words, it made me reflect not only on her islands but several of the places I have visited over the years, mainly on vacations since I have not lived outside of my home zone. Yet it is evident when one thinks about the places people visit or go on vacation to be it a coastal area, national parks or anything that now has become a tourist trap.

What once was has lost its innocence, its charm. It is the local charm that brought people to places like Hawaii for decades. It was unique. It was something never experienced by the vast majority of us and it called to us. The problem is, we all went.

Once pristine vistas are now crowded with corporate entities. The charm of the shore or mountain, the rolling dunes no longer belongs to the small businesses that began setting up their offerings all those years ago. Those entities have long since been replaced by the corporate world. Some try to hide behind a facade of a mom and pop shops but others simply plant their towering logos squarely in the middle of things.

The corporate entities take up the call of trying to deliver what used to be to everyone who wants a taste of what was. But that is the fallacy, the charm of a quaint luau in a small group is now a high-dollar variety show attended by hundreds. The charm has been lost, the memories faded of what we once knew, what we once experienced and longed to have again.

It will never return and our future will never know what we experienced.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

What happened to T?


Yes, I am still here, although it has been awhile since I have posted on this site. I am hoping to change that and get back to normal here. I genuinely appreciate those who follow and read along. I apologize for my absence to date.

Now, as a writer I know there are all types of dialects that are around the world, around our country. When one is writing, to have a believable conversation, one that sounds normal to the ear, the writer must learn to write the way people speak. No one speaks 'the King's English', not here, not almost anywhere.

Unless it is something I have just completely ignored or never actually realized, a new phenomenon has caught my ear the past few years. The letter 'T' seems to be disappearing from the spoken word. I have noted it in my personal life as well as on television. It nearly bent my ear listening to someone on a program leave it out of someone's name. Even professional speakers on local news are beginning to drop the 'T'.

How do I mean? Take the name Clayton. Many now pronounce it as Clay-un. This is just one example.

I'm sure you've heard this. It is not new. I knew someone years ago who pronounced the word 'once' as 'onest'. It was nothing that irritated me like this dropping of the 'T'. I suppose it could be cultural, however I have not narrowed it down as I think it is becoming the norm to many no matter race or cultural background.

Perhaps there will come a time where small speech patterns like this do not bother me...but I doubt it.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

50 years later

 I am quite the older man now than what I was at the tender age of twelve. At that age I didn't live very near anyone I went to school with. I was caught in a sort of in-between zone between two Catholic schools. Up until that time, the majority of my playtime was taken up by my brother, North of 50.

But then a funny thing happened. Those times lessened and I began to roam the neighborhood with two friends that lived on my street. For the next couple years we were nearly inseparable even though they went to different schools. When we all came home or during the summer months, it was on! We were everywhere, playing basketball at the end of the street (or in my case, trying to do so), playing football, buying fish for our aquariums or what took up most of our time, riding our bikes. 

It was a different time and almost a completely different era. We rode for miles! We explored not only our neighborhood but those that touched ours and touched those and touched those and even further out. What bonded us was the sense of adventure and the fun of just being with each other out in the world. Back then, it was fun to be twelve.

The world since has changed, some for the better, some, not so much. But often one looks back and sees those things that make a difference in the world that carries on to this era. My two friends were named Billy and Gary. Gary is white like me, and Billy is black. What we didn't see was the color of each other's skin. My mother treated them like she treated me and their mothers treated me that same. It didn't matter. 

So what makes me look back on this and smile today? Well, my grandson Cage has a friend over. they are both about that age. The young lad visiting after school is a very tall for his age and towers over Cage, a thin black youth, much like my lifelong friend Billy who towered over me. 

There are good things in this world and good people and they come in all colors and sizes.

Oh, and the young man's name is...William.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

For June

 Social media is a weird, wild, and sometimes wondrous thing. Each form it takes whether it is facebook, Twitter or other gathering site has its supporters and its critics, and all can be well deserved in their own right.

I started this rambling blog over a decade ago to just chronicle my thoughts, hopefully sell a couple books along the way and generally track the journey of the latter half of my life on this blue marble. I also have a presence, although be it small on other social media sites. One of which is Twitter. I thought I might be able to raise my presence so I joined several years ago. Quite frankly I didn't know what I was doing on it and did not actively participate for several years.

That began to change about a year ago. I started diving in and following people. You don't build a presence simply by yelling, hey! buy my books! You have to let people see who you are, what your thoughts are and what you believe. I do agree that there are elements of Twitter that I completely avoid. I tend to stay out of religious or other overly divisive threads. 

But there is another element of this site that doesn't get talked about and is often just ignored. It's about meeting people. And over this past year I have met (online) and interacted with an absolutely wonderful group of men and women. They are funny and passionate about each other in almost every way, so much so that a large group this past weekend celebrated the wedding of two of them. For several, it was the first time they had actually met in person and if you believe you can't become great friends over the internet, you would be absolutely wrong. These men and women are family. The pictures coming from that even were proof of that.

So, where is this leading Robert? I'm here to tell you.

Sometimes you find out there are other reasons to use the tools we have. One of these terrific people who have made me laugh over this past year is June. She is a wonderfully lively woman to follow as is her close group of Twitter friends, "LadyTwitter". Unfortunately, June has relapsed and faces a diagnosis of cancer. This group has started a gofundme page to help with her medical expenses that, as we all know can be quite difficult. 

With this in mind I am using what little presence I have online to ask that anyone who is able to contribute even a dollar or two go to  https://www.gofundme.com/f/medical-expenses-for-june 

Keep in mind that every dollar anyone contributes makes a difference. This is a world that needs people to come together to help one another. This is my attempt to offer my help for June.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Beneath the Angel's Wing

 It is with sadness that the long sleep has touched the family. My mother-in-law has flown beneath the protection of angel's wings and her soul rests with those she has loved and lost.

For me it is a time of reflection on a woman as gentle and loving as any I have known. It was said she was someone who gathered people as others gather precious things and mementos to themselves. But that is what she does. That is who she is. Mostly, I do not speak in terms of 'did', or 'was' of people who have died. In memory, death does not dismiss their spirit or who they are. She is still who she is and to those who know, the memory is still alive. As is for my parents and North of 50, they are still a living memory to me and I will not denigrate their lives to 'was' or 'were'.

I awoke to a day as bright and beautiful as any I have seen in some time. It will be difficult for many to see its beauty, and I fully understand what has gripped their emotions. For me however I see what she would have wanted us to see, wanted us to embrace. Love each other in her memories and the joy of her spirit. 

Each day is a day passed and every sunrise a time to embrace what we may not have seen yesterday. I envision my life as seeing the world through someone's eyes who has new things to discover be it in a sunrise, a snow-filled winterscape or a day filled with rain, for even the rain brings new birth and new life to the world around it. 

As I see this day in its infancy, I will look only to discover its joy, see its fascination as it unfolds before me. A new life has touched my soul, and my eyes are open to the world again.