Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

As a young child growing up in the 60s there were things that excited me.
The drive-in theaters, car hops, Christmas (yes Ebeneezer Grinch was excited by Christmas as a child), Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving (in fact all the holidays), my birthdays, School, summer vacation , Vacation Bible School, Ice Cream trucks, Baseball games at Ernie Shore Field, The Dixie Classic Fair, and just riding in the car with my family, while perched on the “hump,” elbows on the back of the front seat, and watching the world go by through the front windshield.  (back before the government found the revenue stream in  mandatory seat-belt laws)  Times were simpler and there was still a little wonder and awe left in the world.

This was back in the day before the lawyers and licensing fees killed using nationally recognized characters in local advertising runs.  You can see a nod to that in the movie, “A Christmas Story” where the “Wonderful World of OZ” characters get in a tiff with Mickey Mouse and Disney Characters in the Parade.   In the 60s you could see plenty of it in local advertising. It was a tit-for-tat where the local guy got some recognition from using a nationally known character and the parent company got free publicity for their characters which they re-released every eight or nine years.   Which brings us to the item at hand.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was re-released in 1967.  I was 4 years old at the time and I don’t remember if I saw it at the Drive-in or the indoor theater.  But it was about that time that the houses, and plywood cut-outs of Snow White and the Dwarfs showed up in a clearing at the corner of Silas Creek Pkwy and Reynolda Rd. I remember I would get so excited to see them when we drove out that way.  Eventually  it became a yearly Christmas tradition for our family to go drive by and see the little houses decked out for Christmas.  There was a Blue house, a Yellow house, I believe a Red on and a Green one?? or maybe one of them was white?  Any-who, it was a landmark in Winston-Salem in the late 60s – early 70s.

This past fall I caught a glimpse of  them one day when driving down Reynolda Road and told myself I needed to stop in and document what I could before they were torn down or completely rotted away. Today I made it a point to stop and go take some pics.  I parked over in Reynolda Village and crossed Reynolda Road at one of the busiest times of the day but it didn’t matter,  I was on a mission to visit a piece of my childhood 46 years after the fact.

 

It was surreal as I stood there looking at the little houses that had so fascinated me as a little boy.  As I took photos the memories of those drive by encounters with the houses and  characters I had seen as a child kept flooding my memories. Now, here I was visiting them for the first time almost a half century later.  I was a bit shocked, and excited to see one lone character still keeping guard over the little buildings, a Christmas choir boy.  It was as if live wire was laid across my memories recharging them and given them new life.  There he was, just as I remembered the Christmas scene from so long ago.  I did not disturb him.  I merely captured him for posterity.

 

These days, I find myself reminiscing more and more.  I have more days behind me than I do ahead and my mind seeks refuge from the  storms of modernity.  I know I can’t go back but I find comfort in the past… my past.  Times were just a bad, but our response to them was different.  I wasn’t old enough at the time to  understand Viet Nam, the Civil Rights movement, and the sexual revolution.  I only knew my family and the good times we shared in taking a simple drive every so often to view and to share in the  art of someone’s handiwork, who had created a visual fantasy that a small boy found joy in seeing… and an old man enjoyed finally meeting face to face.

Read Full Post »

It was like going back in time, that’s only the 2nd time I’ve been back there in 38 years.  The memories were so thick I couldn’t process it all, I was overwhelmed. Standing there on the soil that had shaped so much of my childhood.   I could hear the sounds of days gone by, smell the hot dogs cooking at the snack bar, hear the banter on the fields, feel my cleats digging in at the plate, the pitch, the swing, the ring of my favorite old red, aluminum bat as it made contact,  the feel of it, knowing I got all of that one as I head down the line towards first.  So many Saturdays were spent on those fields. I got choked up seeing they honored my old coach, Bob Dalton, by naming the complex after him.

So many memories both good and bad flood my head.  The feelings that accompany those memories are coming at me to fast to process.   I stand there under the now giant oak trees and remember they were only saplings back then.   My dad stood along the fence over there and…  I have to leave before I start crying.  Everyone knows there’s no crying in baseball.  phillips-bridgeIt’s all I can do to choke back the memories, and the emotions that accompany them.

To my son, I apologize for being so damned selfish, and disguising it as righteous holier-than-thou religious bullshit in not allowing you to have the memories I have from playing baseball. I hope you can forgive such a selfish old man.

Read Full Post »

It has been a while since I updated The Orange and Lime Green Sherbets, or how things are going with Mistress Sadie.

I will have to admit there was, shall we say, a pall in my resolve.
What with “The Wedding” and so much other stuff going on over the summer I found myself dozing while my life was on autopilot.  I had let my guard down and when I awoke from my self-induced stupor I realized the enemy had retaken ground that was hard won the first time.

So there I was, faced with the ultimate decision, what do I do?  Do I go ahead and take the easy road back to the couch and give up?  Or do I man up and dig down deep inside myself and find the Marine that I once was, pick him up dust him off and between the two of us become the man that I once hoped to be but never have been yet?

To tell you the truth everything within me fought against me this week.  Every demon from my past, every failure I have ever experienced popped up and sang its tale of woe, weakness and frustration.  All my failures, disappointments, and personal flaws whispered to me to just give up and quit.  “It’s not worth it,” they said.  “Why even try?” they said.  “No one cares about or wants you,” they argued.  “What difference will it make?”

It dawned on me, they were absolutely right, “What difference WILL it make?”  So I quit arguing, and somewhere deep, deep down inside I started to get angry.  I stopped engaging my demons and my failures and my dead dreams, and my personal flaws altogether… and in my mind I stood up, turned around and began walking.  They all withstood me, began to taunt and make fun of me until I finally growled, “To hell with all of that, I’m doing this for me!”  I don’t care about my failures, or my flaws, or even about what anyone thinks of me!  I’m doing this for me, and when it’s done I hope to finally meet the man that I once hoped to be.  Not the man someone else wants me to be, but the one who I let life beat down, the one I smothered with religiosity, the one I never allowed myself to be.

Today marks the second day back in actual training mode.  I went back to Mistress Sadie and she worked me over for 50 minutes.  35-40 minutes was pumping her as hard as I could go.  My heart rate peaked at 180 beats/min. She was glistening with my sweat when I finished.  I wiped her down and she knew I was back only now the intensity is greater than before.  I’m on a mission.

Somewhere in my encounter with Mistress Sadie today I stepped through a portal in my mind, a portal to the id.  I had to find the Marine.  I knew he was in there, covered with the sands of my time, the dust and sediment of my life.  I sent out a distress signal, that he was needed, that I was reactivating him.  If this mission was to succeed I was going to have to have him back.  His ability to endure the mental challenges was needed.  I realize now that it was I who limited his physical abilities and I was the one who held “him” back.

Somewhere around the 20-minute mark he found me.  For a brief shining moment I felt him there; he was there to rescue me.  He was there to carry me over the pain threshold and for the next 20 minutes he ran with me as we pushed past levels 8-10 on Sadie as we took the hill of level 12 and reached the summit at level 14 for a couple of minutes.   Somewhere during the 5 min cool down he nodded and smiled.  I came back to this side of the portal, completely spent but encouraged, knowing the Marine is still with me, “Always Faithful.”

I was able to do one Set of the 14 Fitlinxx stations, then to the steam room to relax, finally shower and leave.

So, here I sit.
I’m not the man I once was.  With heaven’s help I will become the man I once hoped to be.  Not for anyone else or anyone else’s approval, this time I’m doing it for me. (Now I fully understand the meaning behind James 4:14-16.  If the Lord allows me to complete this quest, then so be it.) I have examined my life, weighed it in the balances and it comes up lacking.  And if I fail, let me die in the attempt, because that would be preferable to this life of mediocrity I now endure.

I am Persifler, not the man I was, but not yet the man I hope to be.

*for those who don’t know who Mistress Sadie is:  precor_amt_100_i

Read Full Post »

Ten years ago I wrote this.   Here on the 40th anniversary of my father’s death I will re-post this in memory of that day.

 My father went home on April 8, 1977.  The date has passed, but I always remember it on Good Friday.   It was Good Friday 1977 the day he passed, he was only 44.  I’ll turn 54 this year (the same age as his dad, my grandfather, was when he died)  ten years older than my dad made it.  

 

Tears Unbidden

Why now, why here? Why this way?

More questions and less answers. Instead of growing I seem to be regressing.

What took place those many years ago that haunts me now with these and other questions.

College? No, not far enough back. The memories of college are rife with these same feelings.

High School? No, even then the conflict was raging and the ill-prepared adolescent I was, was already wrestling with the fall-out of the original issues. I know what the two main issues were and can only bring myself to talk about one of them. (The other will have to stay buried for some time to come)

We will start with Easter Weekend, 1977.  I was just a dumb thirteen-year-old kid, what did I know?  But, even now I can see it so clearly. I can hear it in their voices. I don’t understand what they are saying but I hear the panic, so I begin to move.

“Something’s wrong with Don!”

What did they say?

“Donny, something’s wrong with your daddy!”

Daddy, what could be wrong… my feet are already moving in the direction of the commotion.

“What is it?”

I remember voicing those words.

The reply did little to prepare me for what was to follow.

I descended the steps in two, or perhaps three leaps, pushing myself off the door jam as I rounded the corner, through the door that led to the garage. I was in the garage and could see mom on the back of the truck where I had last seen daddy. I ran around the front of the truck and down the passenger side and there he was, lying on the tailgate of the truck. (Until now that has been buried deep in my memory, Why now? In such vivid detail, why?)

His head was facing the passenger side. I could hear mom screaming, “Don! Don!”

The next twenty minutes were an eternity. Alternating between a furious attempt at CPR and utter physical exhaustion. Mom did not know how to do the respirations correctly and my chest compressions were weak attempts to what was necessary. Between the two we only succeeded in making daddy throw up. We kept on until we were completely exhausted.

Later, I was told the blue discoloration of his neck probably meant that it was massive and quick. They told us that he probably never knew what hit him and he probably was dead before he hit the tailgate. They were probably telling us that to make it easier on us; so we would not feel we had not done enough to save him. An attempt to save us from a load of future, self-inflicted guilt. (It didn’t work)

After the Ambulance arrived (it actually took them twenty minutes to get there) and loaded daddy, my mother went with them, I was left to deal with what I had just experienced. I ran outback and across the creek, up the hill a little ways and at stump I knelt to pray. I wanted God to save my daddy’s life. I called out to God to save his life and I begged God to let him live. Even as the words were spilling out of my mouth I knew that God was never going to answer that prayer. I knew my daddy was dead.

For years I have buried the memory of the events of that day. My mind just could not wrap around the reality of my own reality. Ok, so what!? That is part of life. We are all under a death sentence, it’s just a matter of time before the icy fingers of death touch us all. As much as we fear it, avoid it, deny it and disregard it; death is as much a part of the human experience as birth, growth, pain and joy. Yet for all the philosophizing and rationalizing I do, here I stand, the same age as my father when he died, and the memories of that day come rushing over me and I wipe away, tears unbidden. (more…)

Read Full Post »