Memories from 1984

It’s late 1984 and I am holed up in the freshman dorm on the East Campus of Duke University slaving over some awful English Comp paper on my IBM Selectric II, oh that was one sweet typewriter let me tell you, envy of the floor. The girl down the hall, now a Federal Judge, is confidently relaxed cause she is way better prepared for exams then I will ever be. I take a quick break and attempt to iron the triple creases on my Navy ROTC shirt, nothing easy about this on one of those small table top style mini ironing boards, and yes they measured our creases with a ruler.

The hell with it I think, time to break out the Häagen-Daz Vanilla Swiss Almond, I deserve it after all that typing. No worries though morning PT will definitely take care of the indulgence. Across the hall the Texas soccer playboys are trying to learn how to match colors on their newly pressed outfits… its a bitch living without your personal valet. Duke is a different environment, the brilliant, the brilliant super rich, the foreign super rich, and the rest of us struggling to survive. Crank up the Tom Petty, a little air guitar, couple more bites of ice-cream, and back to it…

You know the funny thing is I still play a mean air guitar, love my Vanilla Swiss Almond and can iron like a MFer…  I miss that IBM – but typing on my wireless keyboard and watching the words appear on the screen in front of me – well that’s just magic…

#Firstdayofschool

This is for all the weeping parents out there… sending their precious one(s) to school today, suck it up buttercup they are going to be fine, no seriously…

Love an empty nester!

Okay having said that let me redeem myself a little by posting up a piece I wrote about five years ago when I dropped my daughter off at college and found myself blubbering the next day… which I will vehemently deny by the way!

Hopes Dreams Transitions…

I am up early for a Saturday, sipping a cup of fresh made coffee and thinking back over it all. I dropped my daughter off at college yesterday and marked a bittersweet milestone, yes I know quite the overused word in my opinion and honestly it’s lost the significance it once had. A milestone should symbolize a major achievement, the completion of a great effort or undertaking… not just a simple “I made it to the finish line so look at me…” No a milestone infers challenges, obstacles, setbacks and having exercised the will and perseverance to have overcome them. As parents can we count those first steps are children take into adulthood as a milestone? It matters not the path be it the military, college or the job-market those first few steps embody all the hopes, dreams and wishes we have for them. Read more ›

CEREAL

I was partaking in a bit of nostalgia last night around midnight, you guessed it a bowl of cereal. I’m sitting in the dark of my dining room spoon in hand, the ice-cold milk splashing over my golden flakes and nut clusters – I pause a moment before plunging my spoon in for that first cold, crunchy, sweet and perfect bite.

I remember being a kid at the breakfast table a box of Frosted Flakes bigger than me just out of reach, my small plastic bowl awaiting that avalanche of sweetness. Next to it the gallon jug of whole milk stands with the screw cap – old school. I reach the box with the tip of my fingers rocking it back and forth till I can get a good grip. I finally get it tipped over and the flakes pour into my bowl some escaping onto the table – of course I scoop them into my mouth directly a crunchy appetizer. Ahh now the challenge, tipping that big jug just enough for the milk to pour into my bowl, but not too much oh no not too much. I carefully balance it, tipping, tipping careful now ahhh the liquid splashes in and off the first flakes onto the table, I continue on filling my bowl to the top of the flakes now swimming so deliciously. I glance around, no witnesses, and rapidly wipe the spill up with my napkin. Read more ›

Jake – Chapter 2

Jake stirred as a carelessly discarded candy wrapper brushed against his face swirling into the brush behind him. The cloying sweet oily smell of petroleum distillates carried on the soft breeze, as the fine dust eddied like ripples on a pond, and the lightning teased of the coming rain glinting off the crisscross of tracks. The last splashes of brilliant reds and purples of a gulf coast sunset painted the horizon. In the distance, a heron mourned the fading day and the steady chug of a tanker drifted in and out. A quiet heaviness tinged with a coiled tension waiting to burst forth had settled over the water. Read more ›

Jake – Chapter 1

Jake had been driving since early that morning, the sweet creaminess of caramel coffee having long since been erased by the inhalation of acrid smoke from the cigarettes he had been chain smoking. The miles whispered by as his beat-up Ford truck picked its way across Florida’s I75 toward the Gulf. Affectionately called Alligator Alley, Jake hadn’t seen one since leaving Miami. Just as well, he mused, the son of a bitch would probably have crawled out in front of him; wrecking the remains of what was already a perfectly shitty day.

With the windows down and the day’s heat already starting to pile up, deciding not to fix the truck’s AC was threatening to add to the long list of poor decisions he’d been making lately. It wasn’t just leaving Molly without saying anything either. He had quietly packed up early this morning as the sun shone through the windows haloing her in a golden glow, gently kissed her on the forehead and made his way down the back stairs; his cowardly silence echoing loudly in his ears. Read more ›

Memories of Mom…

A few years ago, I reached the age where I had accumulated more years without my Mother than with her. I lost her when I was a mere 24 not yet old enough to realize how much I was going to need her, nor how much I would end up missing her. At that young age she was still “mom”, you know the “mom” we love but still chafe under as young adults. It isn’t that I took my Mother for granted, I didn’t she taught us that lesson well enough, but I had no idea how much I would miss her and how many times I would need her counsel, her teaching, her understanding, and maybe more than anything those irreplaceable tender moments of a mother’s comfort. Read more ›

The Farm

…My body long since numb from the old John Deere beneath me, the baler hums and thumps behind leaving its squares in a neat row. The sun inches its way toward the tree line and an afternoon breeze has picked up, it carries the sweet smell of cut hay intermingled with the murmurs of the crew tossing bales in the lower fields. My dusty cap wipes a trail across my brow as I watch the dance of maples along the rock wall their broad leaves turning silver backs to me, a forecast of things to come. The dragon flies flit  in and out, teasing, knowing an afternoon storm is coming as time races away… but these are the good days, the days of sun and sweat, hard work and gentle nights, the days before the dark time, before it all went away, before a creeping evil turned all the world grey and stole the magic of the farm…

Authors Note:  I have fond memories of the long days of late summer baling hay on my mother’s horse farm in NE Pennsylvania. She was diagnosed with cancer the winter of my 24th year and passed in the early days of August that next summer – that was many, many years ago, but I can’t pass a freshly baled field without remembering those days on the farm and how much I still miss her…

Mrs. Brown’s Kitchen

Some of my fondest memories are of Mrs. Brown’s kitchen there was just something special about it. The house itself was a stately old southern mansion right on Main Street in Union, SC. The classic columns out front and the grand old magnolia trees completed the picture. The kitchen was spotless clean, but always smelled like some wonderful meal had just been finished. There really are two sections to the kitchen, the nook or “mud room” where the stairs from the back-yard lead into the house and the actual kitchen itself. The nook was probably the comfiest room in the house and doubled as the laundry room. It was always warm and had that special “clean clothes” smell that nothing else compares to. Read more ›

’73 Pickup

…I had no idea what I was getting into I think as I wipe a gritty arm across my brow and adjust the hard hat; the sun continues its slow climb in the cloudless sky. The shovel is heavy in my hands long since calloused and toughened by the monotony that is squaring up footers in the red clay of the Carolinas. The dust slowly eddies and whirls in the shadeless expanse with only the temptation of a breeze. In the distance the universal signal for break is given, God how long had it taken to figure that one out. I no longer bother trying to shake the dust off my jeans as I slide into my ’73 pickup with a quick prayer that the linkage holds I bounce out of the lot. Read more ›

Dreams of my Father…

…Last night my father and I went traipsing through a dream… We made up for lost time and unspoken wishes, I showed him the landscapes of other dreams and just for a moment we captured the relationship that never was and never will be…