The Scarlet Letter
I know, you already read it. I, on the other hand, was a typical teen of the 80's who was more interested in girls and sports than anything else. It was not until my twenties that my English teacher of a sister talked me into reading Stephen King, Stephen King soon turned to Dean Koontz, and Dean Koontz soon turned to anything I could get my hands on. By my thirties I was regularly reading a book a week. Yet, through it all, I never turned to the classics until my forties.
I have read hundreds of good books over the years, but The Scarlet Letter is the best. The reason for this is a personal one; the character of Arthur Dimmesdale deeply resonated with me and transformed the book from simply a good read to an intense personal journey of discovery.
Which leads me to the main point I would like to make. Only you can decide what the greatest book is because it must speak you alone in a special way. Books, like poetry and art, must speak to your own soul in order for it to be great. My favorite painting is Nighthawks by Edward Hopper because it speaks to my soul, yet you may not like it at all. My favorite poem is Annabel Lee by Edger Allan Poe, because it speaks to my soul, yet it may mean nothing to you.
That is what makes literature so wonderful; it has to be personal and meaningful to the reader and, if it is, it is great to you...and that is all that matters.
It doesn't get better. We live in a broken world of decay that will slowly and surely wear you down. You will have health issues that get worse as the years pass. You will lose people who are near and dear to you along the way. As you grow older you will more plainly see the insanity of the mob, the hypocrocy of leaders, and the sheer stupidity of the uninformed. You will continuously grow weary as the days drag on until, one day, you will long for the exit from this world. You will, however; endure it all, because you will find joy in the little things and in the ones you love. You will hold fast to memories that are precious, friends who are dear, and hope that springs eternal. There will be moments that you ask yourself if it is all worth it, and you will endure. There will be moments the world will make you sad to be a member of the human race, and you will endure. There will be moments you feel ready to depart, and you will indure.
It doesn't get better and it doesn't get easier, but YOU WILL ENDURE.
To Fear Or Not To Fear
Essential, that is what I am considered. I have not stopped. I have not slowed. The only changes I experience is that I now can not sit in my favorite reseraunt or go to the movies. This will be the first year in a great many I will not get to see a game at my favorite major league ballpark.
I have not worn a mask, but I see the many who do. There are those who are afraid for themselves, those who are afraid for others, and those who do not care. I suppose I am of the latter category, though I do not mock or judge those who differ from me. I know this thing, (I prefer to think of it as a thing), has devastated and killed. So did the heart attack that took my father, the stroke that took my mother, the cancer that took my sister.
We are weak. We are mortal. We rarely, if ever, get to choose when, where, or how we die. We often ignore death as if we think the reaper will pass us by as long as we keep our head down.
But he will not.
He lurks all around us: In the car we drive, the food we eat, the electrical socket we plug things into, the tools we use. He is on the surfaces we touch and the in air we breath all the time. He even lives within us, and he gets closer with each passing beat of the heart.
Fear is a paralyzing agent. Fear can cause sickness in and of itself. It can cause mental problems that last a lifetime. Fear holds us back from the things we would do, keeps us from those we care about, and prevents us from living our lives. Fear is the true enemy we now face, but as a great president once said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
I understand that I have been hinting around the edges of an idea that may not be popular, but I am not as calous as some may believe. There are those in my life I care about deeply, who are among the most vulnerable of us, that I have only spoken to by phone in recent weeks. We must do everything in our power to protect the most susceptible, but I also beleive very strongly that we must be able to live our lives.
I may get sick. I might even die from this thing. But I will not live in fear of it. I will do what I can to protect the vulnerable, but I will continue to live my life to the best of my ability. I do not beleive that makes me a horrible person. It simply makes me my own person.
I know that the movie was not your first choice,
and the concert we went to, to you, was just noise.
The place where we ate was, by no means, your fave,
and the bar that we frequent does not make you rave.
The hair in the sink sometimes drives you insane,
and my lack of discretion can cause you the same.
From tracks on the carpet to clothes on the floor,
you never show signs that you ever are sore.
Forgetfull and thoughtless are words that describe,
all the folks known to belong to my tribe.
A-million-and-one are the things that I do,
that turns your complexion a bright, reddish hue.
But you "grin and bare" all the things I can throw,
and still, proudly, claim that I am your beau.
So, thank you for staying this twenty-odd years,
for we've beaten the demons; and all of our fsears.
I know that the road we are on goes both ways,
and we both have the good and the bad in our days.
We each have our own private burden to bear,
and each of us; more than just willing to share.
The life that we've built has not been a mistake,
for we both made the promise to never forsake.
My heart, sometimes broken, sometimes not in line,
will always, forever, be yours, for all time.
Girl Crush-Little Big Town (for my wife)
I've got a girl crush
Don't mind admiting as much
I think of her all the time
Dream of making her mine
I got it real bad
without her my life is sad
her smile and her free laugh
I can hear it right now
I want to taste her lips
Yeah cause they taste so sweet
I want to wrap myself
up in her body heat
I love her long blonde hair
I love her magic touch
Yeah cause a love like this
Don't come around none too much
I've got a girl crush
Open Letter from Arkansas Fan to Oregon State
I have no idea how many people on prose follow baseball, much less college baseball, but earlier this evening Oregon State defeated Arkansas 5-0 in the third game of the college baseball world series to take home a national championship.
Allow me to begin with this; I love sports. I have loved sports my whole life. I have been a Dallas Cowboy fan my whole life, A Los Angeles Laker fan my whole life, a Texas Ranger fan my whole life, and an Arkansas Razorback fan my whole life. Over the years I have witnessed glorious victories and agonizing defeats, but none have been so devestating as this.
From the first game of this season, all my friends and family have called me "Mr. Optomistic". I have had a feeling that Arkansas would win a national championship from the first pitch of the season. When others have doubted, I remained steadfast in my conviction. I have been cool, calm, and collected, the relaxed one of any group of people I have been with, saying, "Don't worry. Find your zen. We are going to win this."
This season was, arguably, the best baseball team Arkansas has ever had. We could hit for contact, we could hit for power, and we could pitch. Our roster was loaded and we were a team of destiny.
Then game two of the world series championship happened. Oregon State was batting in the top of the ninth with a runner on third and two out. There was a foul ball down the first base line that represented the final out of the game and an Arkansas championship. Jarrod Gates, the Arkansas first baseman, had a line on the ball. He had a good read with his glove out, ready to make the catch that would seal a Razorback victory. Out of nowhere, Carson Shaddy, fifth year senior and second baseman, came running in out of nowhere and took Gates' concentration off the ball. The foul ball hit the ground harmless and, long story short, the Razorbacks lost the game, and the national championship.
I knew in that moment that we, the preverbial we, had lost...and not just that game, but the series.
In the three games we played against Oregon State, Arkansas batted under .200, something they had not done all season. In the three games we played, Arkansas struck out almost 40 times, something we had not done all season. Those around me said we were just not playing like we could, but at some point, after game two, I understood that at some point we just had to understand that Oregon State was better team than us.
And they are. I have no doubt that the two best baseball teams in the country played in the finals of the college world series, and I now have no doubt that the best team in the country won.
There is no shame in losing to a team that is better, but there is pain, and a lot of it. I have lived almost fifty years, and I have been an avid sports fan for most of them, but no loss I have ever experienced has been as heart wrenching as this one.
If you are an Oregon State fan, I tip my hat to your team. They are the best in the land, and they have proven it. Just know that, with your joy, comes great pain for others. I could be wrong, but I believe that sports are more important to folks in the south than other parts of the country. Wins are bigger, and loses are harder.
I have seen the Lakers win a lot of titles, I have rejoyced in three Cowboy Super Bowl victories, and I have seen an Arkansas national championship in basketball, but in this moment I would almost, almost, trade them all for a world series title.
Sometimes, I think I’ve lived too long.
I do not need my golden song.
For many I’ve loved have now moved on,
and me to continue feels so wrong.
To lose ones grandparents is no surprise,
and we expect our parents to say goodbye.
We have all had friends that sometimes die,
to remind us death is always nigh.
But when we each begin to lose
those with whom we paid our dues,
we find ourselves, begin to muse,
about life’s cruel, relentless ruse.
So, I now no longer fear to face
the chill of angel death’s embrace.
For, in my memory, I incase,
those with whom I've run life's race.
My eyes do witness beauty from afar.
Her countenance bright as the morning sun.
Should God bestow such beauty on a star,
or hide it from creation's face unsung?
Her eyes bare not the mark of vanity,
nor does she move her members with such heir,
to tempt the eyes of men for them to see,
the deep and gentle richness of her wares.
With purest heart and meekness of her speech,
she yet knows not the power that she holds.
For in her dwells the love that I would seek,
if only I could dare to be so bold.
I pray this light may shine upon my face,
for me to know the joy of her embrace.
Who Am I Writing This To?
(There is no one left to read it)
If you are reading this:
The joke was on me.
I Am! He says.
Divine spark of insanity.