Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Way We Were.....?

I got lucky growing up. I could have been born into a rather mundane family, but decided to live a little on the edge.

My grandfather was an adventurer. He loved life and those around him. He could be rather territorial at times, but figured the best way to treat people was to be nice to them, no matter how they felt about you.

He was born on a small 110 acre farm in just north of a small town called Denmark, Ohio. The farm remained in the family until just a few years ago when we decided as a family unit to sell it. The farm was my grandfather. It was never the same after he passed over in the early 1970's.

I remember my great grandmother raising baby chickens in the one bathroom. The smell of the food on a Sunday afternoon. I remember my great grandfather with his gray stubble on his face. A kindly, but quiet man.

In the early 1960's my grandfather became the Mayor of Mansfield, Ohio. During those years I traveled with him, and my grandmother to conventions in Washington, D.C., Boston, and Dallas. My most embarresing memory was when my grandmother asked Ted Kennedy to watch me so she could hit the bar. My grandfather didn't drink, but didn't stop my grandmother from enjoying a Perfect Manhatten.

I remember how the second year I met him, Hubert Humphrey remembered me, and called me by my first name. Whether someone reminded him, doesn't matter, because in that moment I was number one. For someone who was only maybe nine years old, that was a moment to remember.

Then there was the Sunday I went to church with my Grandparents. It wasn't our regular service. We were attending a special service at a local church. The minister's nephew was preaching that day. The local minister's name was The Reverend Joel King, and his nephew was The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Like I said, I got lucky growing up.

At times I think that I've done it all. But then I look at those around me and realize that I've just started my life. I'll be 52 this year. What is that really but a number?

There is a song from the 1970 called "Signs". It was done by the Five Man Electrical Band. You might not remember it:

And the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply
So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why
He said you look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you'll do
So I took off my hat I said imagine that, huh, me working for you


Sign Sign everywhere a sign
Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign

And the sign said anybody caught trespassing would be shot on sight
So I jumped on the fence and yelled at the house, Hey! what gives you the right
To put up a fence to keep me out or to keep mother nature in
If God was here, he'd tell you to your face, man you're some kinda sinner

Sign Sign everywhere a sign
Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign

Now, hey you Mister! can't you read, you got to have a shirt and tie to get a seat
You can't even watch, no you can't eat, you ain't suppose to be here
Sign said you got to have a membership card to get inside Uh!

And the sign said everybody welcome, come in, kneel down and pray
But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all,
I didn't have a penny to pay, so I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign
I said thank you Lord for thinking about me, I'm alive and doing fine

Sign Sign everywhere a sign
Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign

We have our own little signs today. Our lives are built around such like our credit rating, the number of hours we work, the number of activities our children are in. We run ourselves ragged to prove to others we are successful. We are killing ourselves over our own signs.

Well tell you what Mr. Banker, you can take your credit rating and shove it where the sun don't shine!

Mr. Principle our children don't need multi million dollar schools with 50 different activities!

And to the Hollywood writer, I don't need your sorry ass "reality shows", and your poor reporting, and poor actors with their lives so screwed up that they take on a life of their own and have become more important than the child in Darfur. Dr. Phil can go back to his hole in Texas as far as I'm concerned.

Why? Because I've got life, and I'm going to live it.

Each morning I'm going to take responsibilty for every piece of food that I put in my mouth. I'm going to take responsibility for every word I use, thought I think, smile I fail to share.

For what ever you might think, the world does revolve around each and every one of us. Our choices shape our world.

The memories of the past, are as much alive as the momories of the moment, and the dreams yet to come.

Make your choice today and make it stick. Try starting with what goes in and out of your mouth.


Heidi said...


Age got nothin' on you!

You've got life and you are going to live it! I love that about you!!!

~ Heidi

P.S. You are totally awesome. Nothin' more to say!

Terilynn said...

I have said time and time again. You are my thinking raw blog. I love your story and I am very lucky that you and beautiful Keely exist in this crazy world.


Kristen's Raw said...

Loved talking with you tonight! Fun Fun Fun :)

Kathy said...

Just stopped by your blog via a referral from Keely. I was looking for a hot-dog recipe, but what I found was much more profound and inspirational. Thanks for making me think about life. I will make you an added daily stop!