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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Friday, December 28, 2012

As the year closes...

I hope no one will take this as an indictment or accusation, or anything but an observation.  It is coming down to the last feeble sputters of this year, and like any other year, it's time for certain statuses on social media, stories in the news media, and posts on blogs.  Some will do "the year in review", like the well done example my friend Juli did on her blog.  Or like a post a friend shared on FB where you put the things you WANT to happen in an empty jar, and open it up at the end of next year.  People will ask if you have a new year's resolution (I've kept one for more than 30 years- never to make another!), or debate how good or bad they thought the year was/think the new year will be.

I think optimism is great; if you end up with the people and places you love still in your life- or at least enough of them- then you shouldn't be too down.  Being appreciative of what you have is a wonderful thing, as well.  Sometimes we all should read a book on Europe in the winter and spring of 1944-5.  Or the Gulag Archipelego ( which I made it about halfway through years ago).  Volunteer at a retirement home or a children's hospital.   Odds are that if you have access to reading this, life ain't so bad.

Me, I don't try to plan out the future.  I don't give myself a list of accomplishments I'd like to do this year.  I just try to take advantage of the opportunities that drift by.  Bucket lists are fine for those with more resources than I to make them come true, so I don't work towards things unlikely to happen. 

Drinkin' and dreamin', knowing
damn well I can't go
I'll never see Texas, LA, or
old Mexico
But here at this table, I'm able
to leave it behind
and drink till I'm dreamin'
a thousand miles out of my mind.....
There are things I'd like to fix about myself, but they aren't the kind of things you make a list of at the beginning of the year and check off your boxes for twelve months.  My battles are each day, sometimes each hour, and it makes no sense to sit back and plan things back at CENTCOM when somebody's got to be in the trenches with an AK. (In case you couldn't guess, political correctness remains NOT one of those things I intend to work on daily.)  There are a lot of you who will read this- perhaps all of you- who know what I mean.  And some of you can still work the daily battles into the long-term plan.  I'm just not wired that way.
...we had joy, we had fun,
we had seasons in the sun
but the hills that we climbed
were just seasons out of time...
January was named for the Roman god Janus, who had two faces- one faced to the future, the other to the past.  I think somewhere along the line, I lost that front face.  Especially as I get older, I see the past more often (if not more clearly).  It seems like ever time I open "front-facer's" eyes, I see less and less of the world I knew and more of a world I've no real interest in.  A world where kids talk sexual-innuendo and crime riddled rhymes to a computerized backbeat and call it music.  Where we can spend a six figure check to tear all the trees off a street, narrow the sidewalks, and call it beautification, and tell cops, firemen, and teachers we have no money for them.  Where the thought of marriage being one man-one woman makes you a prude or a homophobe.  Where I should apologize to the Japanese for Hiroshima and forget about Nanking, apologize to Muslims and forget 911, and tell the Israelis they ask too much and forget the Holocaust.
Where God's name cannot be spoken, lest I offend someone.
Lovers really fall in love to stay,
stand beside each other come what may
A promise really something people kept,
not just something that they'd say, and then forget
Families really bow their heads to pray
and daddies really never go away
oh, Grandpa, tell me 'bout the good old days...
The unfortunate thing about such vision is that one tends to relive their sins over and over.  I find myself the hardest person to forgive, and you never know when some old scar will tear open near as deep as it was at the time.  And so I slowly open the other set of eyes, the "Prometheus" rather than the "Epimetheus", and look to the present, and the future.
While surfing around on Christmas Eve night, I stumbled onto, and the page for the cemetery near my boyhood home.  I saw among its slumberers two old classmates that I hadn't known had died.  I searched for more, and saw the names of older people I'd known as a child and a young man, people I'd hoisted a brew with, people who taught me or fed me, or chaperoned me on class trips.  Sometimes I think the tears I shed for "stars" like Fess Parker or James Arness are just collections of the tears for these people, never let out until it can be in the name of someone I never met.
Time moves on, people die.  And when you are 50, they die a lot more often than when you were 20.
Time, you left me standing there
like a tree growing all alone
the wind just stripped me bare, stripped me bare
Time, the past has come and gone
the future is far away
and now only lasts one second,
one second
Can you teach me 'bout tomorrow and all the pain and sorrow
Running free
'Cause tomorrow's just another day
and I don't believe in
I'm walkin'
I'm wastin'
You ain't no friend of mine
I don't know where I'm going,
I must be out of my mind
thinkin' about time...
And if should die tomorrow,
just lay me down to sleep...
I can't live the past, I can't see the future- all I can do is each day.  So when the clock hits 12 and revelers drink, lovers kiss, and pundits type out their cute little story about babies born at 12:01:07, I'll be doing what I always do.
Watching the video to A Long December about a hundred times.  Cry for those I miss, drink to absent friends.
And when I eventually wake up the next day, take some ibuprofin, get some lunch, and watch football.  And fight the day's battles once again, thank God for all I have once again, give Laurie and Scrappy hugs again, and text Happy New Years to the kids.
There's got to be a morning after
we're moving closer to the shore
I know we'll be there by tomorrow
and we'll escape the darkness
we won't be searching anymore....


  1. Well, there was plenty in this post I agree with and a few things I definitely don't. But any blog bit that quotes lyrics from a Waylon Jennings song is A-OK by me!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. Disagree? What could you possibly disagree with? JK

  2. I couldn't have said it better myself!

    1. Only because Nora would have woke up half way through...

  3. Chris:
    Would you please get out of MY mind so I can have it back?

    Seriously though, you have nailed PERFECTLY what I pretty much go through every "New Years"...(along with checking our house for stray bullet holes from illegal gunfire on the EVE).

    I think you've managed to say (virtually) "out loud" what a great MANY of us truly feel.

    And it's not that we're all "Danny Downers"...we're just pragmatic realists.
    Guess that ALSO comes with age, eh?
    (good for US)

    I also believe that we all have plenty of our OWN guilts within us that we certainly DON'T need outside influences laying MORE of that crap upon us, undeserved as it always is.

    You just have to take things one day at a time...and that's only because we move through our lives in a purely LINEAR fashion.

    (imho) THIS post is a really good way to sum up the past year (and even a few more in my
    Here's to a better year with the NEXT one, hmm?
    (oh, and cautious go with that pragmatism and realism...right?)

    Stay safe (and warm) up there.

    1. "Would you please get out of MY mind so I can have it back?"

      Is that what I'm stuck in? It won't come off my shoes...

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you. It weas hard getting the slice of Time typed out... Laurie had problems from Grandpa on.

  5. I am a drifter meaning I just drift through life I don't make any great plans I take things as they arise and deal or don't deal. I don't belive in making resoultions can't see the point or I am too lazy whichever I don't I just take each day as it comes........

  6. I like to reflect on the past year, but always strive to prefect the art of living in the next. Resolutions are not my thing... better choices are. Hind sight is always 20/20 so they say.

    I saw an interesting quote (on FB no less) the other day. It said that they can take God out of everything, and as long as people are still doing God's work, he is still there... in schools, in work places... in the trenches. Teachers do God's work. Missionaries do God's work. Friends do God's work. Parents do God's work.

    And maybe if we all put more of our faith into the things we do, it could be contagious.

    That is my only wish for 2013. Not a resolution. Not a dream. Just a wish.

  7. I make my resolutions but I make them daily now, it's part of a new way I have chosen to live my life. Sure, I made the usual - I need to exercise more, write more but the real meat of the matters of life are now daily.

    I love reading your posts, CW - just wanted you to know that. It's the lack of PC that gets me, that and your love of our military.