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buy generic cytotec online no prescription quick deliveryLook, I tried my damnedest to come up with the perfect letter of resignation before I left my job of the past two years.   I really did.   I even researched this stuff.

Unfortunately, I think my research may have – just may have – led me down the wrong road.   My most fruitful research took me only to quotes of Fielding Mellish, the Woody Allen character in his 1971 move, “Bananas.”

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“I once stole a pornographic book that was printed in braille.   I used to rub the dirty parts.”

 

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“I’m not suited to this job.   Where do I come off testing products?   Machines hate me.   I should be working at a job that I have some kinda aptitude for, like donating sperm to an artificial insemination lab.”

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Esposito, a character from “Bananas” said, “You have a chance to die for freedom.”

Fielding Mellish responded, “Yes, well, freedom is wonderful.   On the other hand, if you’re dead, it’s a tremendous drawback to your sex life.”

Then I found it.   The perfect words.   From Woody Allen and that movie.   And I used my company authorized marker to write those words on my company authorized notepad.

The words were simple and straight forward.

“So long, suckers”

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From May 31, 2010

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Today is Memorial Day.   You know what?   I won’t spend a single moment honoring veterans today.

Call me what you will.   I don’t care.   This is the way it is.

 

 

I became draft age just a couple of years before the end of the Vietnam War.    So I missed the heavy-duty worry so many young teens felt back then.    My brother did not.    Neither did Bunny.  They were both in the thick of things.

buy cytotecMy brother went to college.   Back then, if you went to college and kept your grades up, you weren’t drafted.   Still, that was a pretty heavy burden for an 18, 19, 20 year old college student.   Miss a couple of classes, go to an exam hung over a couple of times, and before you knew it, it was “next stop Saigon.”

Bunny was the son of my Dad’s best friend.    He was an only child.    He did not go to college.   I assume he was drafted.    But I was a bit too young to pay attention to such details back then.    Or maybe I just refused to comprehend some things.    But Bunny went.    He went to war.

My brother and Bunny were roughly the same age.    Certainly of the same generation.    Certainly with all the same worries and concerns and uncertain futures.    Well.    To some degree anyway.

buy cytotec 200mcgWhen my brother finished college, he got a job as a teacher.    Back then, if one taught math or science, his draft status was deferred.    Math and science teachers could not be drafted.    Well, my brother’s first job out of college was teaching math.    At a junior high school in Jacksonville, Florida.    He was safe from the blood and gore and danger and horrors of such a screwed up conflict.    My brother’s family – his wife, mom, dad, sister and brother – could breath easy.    I can only imagine how at ease my brother felt with his career choice.

He taught those seventh graders on the Jacksonville Southside for an entire school year.    He has some great stories about that year.    At the end of the school term, the Spring following his hiring, from out of the blue, my brother quit his job there.    We were all concerned about his future armed services status.    He told us that he would rather go to Vietnam than to teach those 7th graders math one more year.    What a great line.    I have told that story many times.   Quoted that line many times.    And I’ve gotten some great laughs.    My brother is a pretty funny guy.

So he left that junior high school.    He joined the Army.

buy cytotec online made in americaMeanwhile, Bunny was fighting and struggling to just survive.    The hell that young man must have gone through is unimaginable to me.    It was very real for Bunny.    It was even more real when the chopper he was in went down under fire.    I don’t know the details.    I do know my Dad’s best friend had a son missing in action in Vietnam or Cambodia or Laos or somewhere not home.

Bunny was presumed dead back then.    His death has long since been confirmed.

I didn’t know Bunny.    I knew his Dad.    And naturally he was crushed.    I remember my Dad being a really good friend during that time.    My Mom also.     The horror and sadness of it all never really registered with me.    Not back then.    “Maybe if I had known him,” I always thought.

buy cytotec online ukYears later, my brother and I were at one of my favorite watering holes in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.    We were having a beer with a couple of friends of mine.    I used the occasion to once again tell some friends about my brother and how he “would rather go to Vietnam than to teach seventh graders math one more year.”    As usual, that line got a huge laugh.    But on this one occasion, my brother got a bit serious.    For the first time that I can remember, I could detect moisture in the man’s eyes.    When the laughter from my friends and me subsided just a bit, my brother looked at me and in his own words said, “I enlisted because of Bunny.”

He used more words than that.    And his explanation was a bit deeper and more thoughtful.  But the message was clear.

“I enlisted because of Bunny.”

I love my brother.    And I admire him for what he told me that night.    I admire him even more for the choice he made years ago.    He’s a veteran.    My Dad was a veteran.    So were my uncles.    I love them all.    But I will honor none of them today.

Today is Bunny’s Day.    He never had a chance to be a veteran.    That young man died while still living as a soldier.    So many others have as well.

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FROM JUNE 28, 2010

buy cytotec onlineIt’s really about power.   Doing what we can to give ourselves the upper hand.   No matter the emotional cost or carnage.

I’ve overcome complaining.   At least I’ve moved beyond the level I once owned.   I owe a very special person for my revival.   There are others I owe.   But mostly her.   And trust me.   She suffered in her efforts.

Now don’t get me wrong.   Sometimes one has to complain.   It is often a sort of act of cleansing.   You know.   Complain to a good friend.   Get things off your chest.   And move on.   But my complaining had some pretty deep-seated roots.   Complaining and expecting the worst was a way of life in my family.   Growing up.

It’s true.   And all of us in the family know this.   This is a secret to no one.   Growing up, if it was a nice warm day, it was “too damned hot out.”   If it was a cool crisp fall day, it was “too damned cold.”   If there was a fun trip to be taken, it was always too far to drive.   You understand.

I guess I was weak.   And like all of us weak ones, I did what I could to gain the little bit of power I felt I needed to demonstrate my worth.   Only through my steadfast complaints did I have and hold the upper hand on things.   And the upper hand is so important when your day or week or month or life is tanking, and you need someone to blame.   Someone – something – to elevate you to a level that is livable for you.   If there is someone else to blame, then surely I am not as low as they are.   Right?   You get it.

I guess we all measure our worth by the inadequacies of our surroundings.   Mostly.   Folks like me do.   Or I used to.   Until my friend set me straight.

When one’s self esteem is lower than a Gulf of Mexico oil flow, complaining, becoming angry, feeling cheated and victimized lift one up to where he imagines his esteem should reside.   But that often means the destruction of the esteem of others.   Recognizing this is where my friend shines.

buy cytotec online 200 mcg no prescriptionShe spent months and years trying to talk me into her twisted way of thinking.   As it turns out, it took but one trip to the Food Lion to set me straight.

Late one afternoon, we went grocery shopping together.   Grocery shopping is an easy generator of complaints.   Too many shoppers.   Too many folks grabbing all the MVP mac and cheese bargains.   Too many folks in front of me in line, paying with coupons and quarters.

I had always been the type of consumer that, no matter how broke, desperate and powerless, I expected to be treated like royalty when I spent the few pennies in my possession.   I was the customer.   Always right, you know.

So on that late afternoon, my friend and I pushed our cart to the most accessible line.   As was usually the case, I unloaded the cart while the check out person rang up our stuff.   And, as usual, my friend began bagging.   That is the way the woman is.   She bags.   She helps.

This one day, just as I always do, I said to the check out person, “How are you?”   Nothing.   No response.   Again.   “How are you?”   Again.   Nothing.   The young girl didn’t even make eye contact.   Here I was, spending money I really couldn’t afford to spend at a business that was providing a job and income for this young woman, and she couldn’t even acknowledge my presence?   Meanwhile, my friend was bagging the groceries.   Something that Food Lion employees were being paid to do.

Ah ha!   So here was my opportunity.   Regardless of my lack of money and my overall weak standing in life, I, at that singular point in time, had the opportunity to elevate myself over the snotty little young woman at the Food Lion check out.   I boldly instructed my friend to stop bagging.

“Let her do it,” I said. “That’s what they pay her to do.”

I think she stopped.   Maybe she didn’t.   A noticeable change came over her after I made my grab for power that late afternoon.   I didn’t understand it until the ride home.

My argument was clear.   I was there spending money I really didn’t want to spend.   And.   I was the customer.   And.   I was right in my reaction.   My friend’s argument wasn’t as clear.   At least it wasn’t as black and white.

“You have no idea what that girl was going through today,” was one thing she said to me on the ride home.

“I don’t give a damn,” I said.   “I am the customer.   At least acknowledge that I am there to give her money!”

My friend was silent.   For quite a while.   She uses dramatic pauses that would put the best Broadway actors to shame.   Meanwhile, that pause pretty much killed me.   But it worked.

“Look,” she finally told me.   “That young woman may have had a terrible day.   Who knows what is going on her life.   And.   Maybe she is just a young jerk.   The point is you had the opportunity to change things.   The power to improve that situation.   To look at her and say, ‘Is everything okay?’ or ‘I really love the way you do your hair,’ or anything.   You chose to be a jerk.   Nothing was accomplished.   You could have made that young lady smile somehow.   Or you could have tried, at least.   You left feeling harmed by her.   She and you now feel worse than either of you did when we got there.   What was the point of all that?”

My friend pulled an extended Broadway pause for several days after that.   But I got it.   And I have never forgotten it.

I guess I have complained some and gotten angry a time or two since that late afternoon at the Food Lion.   But not without quickly thinking of my dear friend.

Remembering her beautiful heart.

And remembering that, by holding within my own heart the simple understanding and kindness she possesses, I have all the power I need.

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A couple of Sundays ago was Mother’s Day.   And like everyone else who, like me, no longer has a living mom, or who lives too far away to visit their living ones, so, too, did I miss mine on that day.   But on that day, Mama paid me a visit.   She once again brought life into my heart.   Real life.

These days, I am working in a garden center in Charlotte, North Carolina.   A few weeks ago, I learned that the home of two of my favorite customers had unexpectedly been destroyed by fire.   It happened on Easter Sunday.

One of those customers, I heard weeks ago, was burned in the fire and hospitalized.   I had seen neither of them since the disaster.   That Sunday, I did.   I saw them both only moments after beginning my busy Mother’s Day at that garden center.

That’s when Mama came alive in the genuine way that only Mama could.   And Mama’s visit came in a form generated by the wonderful smile of the mother whose house had been destroyed on Easter Sunday.   Her smile reminded me of my mom. buy cytotec online no prescription  She had a basketful of the most beautiful flowers, something Mama really would never have pushed around a garden center.   But when I saw that woman and her smile, what she had in that basket paled in comparison to all that was stored within and racing from my heart at that moment.

Look, I am telling you all of this not to make anyone feel better about me.   I am weak.   Much weaker than the smiling mom with a basketful of beautiful flowers.   This is all about moms and daughters and sons and the opportunities that smiles, love and determination present to each of us at every moment.

These days, before I arrive at my workplace, I ask God to take me where I need to be.   He somehow puts my mind at ease and delivers me to places occupied and shared by the hearts of customers and co-workers I need.   And He always delivers me to those who need me most.

At that early moment on Mother’s Day, I didn’t give a damn about any other customers, or the work load I was facing that day.   Everything else that may have better helped the ultimate success of my store on that busy day,  just went away.   And the stress that I felt when I walked into the garden center for the first time that day, dissipated into just one beautiful and focused moment.

buying cytotec with no rxMy focus, for the longest time, was only on the eyes, the smile and the words of the mother.   As other garden center workers and customers called my name, begging for help, I never took my eyes off that beautiful mother.   God and Mama made me focus only on that dear woman who lost her home, and nearly lost her daughter.   And when I saw her daughter for the first time, wrapped in bandages to protect and preserve her damaged skin, and when the mom smiled as I gently hugged her daughter and broadly smiled at our reunion, that was the moment I lived with Mama again.

Look, my mom, and even my dad, were never able to teach me how to practice and endure the mechanics of becoming and being a successful business person.   But as long as I have the ability to focus on the hearts of those with whom I work and serve,  just as I did with those two customers that day, my most loved ones live on.

I don’t know everything.   But I do know this.   Choosing to ignore insignificant and temporary money-making opportunities in favor of the most important focus and smiles and genuine engagements of all moments is, well… All I can say is, “Damn it, those moments are permanent!”

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canadian generic cytotec no prescriptionLook, Mama had a good heart.    And she taught me some good stuff.    But she also had a balance about her.

“God, I hate my life.”

My mother passed along that notion to me when I was just a child.   The recurring line delivered by George Segal or Jack Lemmon or someone in some movie from the ’60’s, I think, cemented that belief in myself.

“God I hate my life,” I repeated from the actor’s role many times as an adult.   I even started, at around the age of 30, the “God I Hate My Life Club.”   Years ago, I was given by a friend a t-shirt onto which that quote is printed!

I think I have overcome the self-hatred.   Nevertheless, I love the laughs I still get from folks when I say those words.   They’re funny!   And, come on.   Mama deserved the right to hate her life – especially on special occasions like Mother’s Day.

Those were the days when Mama, a woman from a proper southern upbringing, expected absolute respect and lavish gifts to honor her devotion to family and to her undivided and proper commitment to the family she led.

Look, her kids had no money.   On Mama’s special occasions, the best we could do was draw a picture or cut off an azalea bloom from a neighbor’s bush or give something even less to the woman.   She always smiled and seemed to appreciate our efforts, but what really caused my mom to hate her life were the efforts by her husband on such days.

I really don’t know where the man’s thought processes originated on those occasions.   But he was kind of a simple man.   My guess is that he actually believed he was honoring his wife with the gifts the only money-maker in our household could afford to buy.

You be the judge here.   If you were a woman celebrating your birthday, would you appreciate your husband giving you a spatula?   Or if you were a mother on Mother’s Day, how excited would you be to receive from the man you married an umbrella?   Ah, imagine the romance you would feel when, on your special day, your husband gives you a 5-gallon jug of Jean Nate Toilet Water purchased at the discount drug store, Pic-N-Save.

But I think I recall correctly when I say the final blow for Mama came around the same time I watched for the first time that “God, I hate my life” movie.   Whatever occasion that was, it was the one where her loving husband gave her a pair of orthopedic nurse’s shoes.

Maybe I am wrong about Mama hating her life.   But if she didn’t, well – the damned orthopedic shoes should have given her ample reason to do so at that moment!

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FROM OCTOBER 11, 2010

cheap online pharmacy for cytotecAn old college friend loves Saturday nights.  At least he did when we were in school together.  His sort of theme song back then was Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.”  Many Saturdays, a bunch of us would gather at his single-wide west of Chapel Hill, North Carolina and the state university there and party until the wee hours or all night.  At some predictable point during each of those evenings, the stereo would be cranked to the max while 90-percent of the “mates” in the room would jump around and dance and sing to the sound of Elton singing, “Saturday…. Saturday…. Saturday….”  Often, the jumping and dancing and singing and Elton would be repeated on those nights.   Saturdays were huge for my friend.  And for the others there.

I mostly sat off to the side somewhere, smiling and silently sipping bourbon or beer.  It was quite a sight and experience.  Though I was quite the dweeb and didn’t sing or dance along with them, I enjoyed those times.

But Saturdays?  While sitting, smiling and sipping somewhere near the front wall of that trailer way out in Orange County, I one night came to the conclusion that Fridays are much better than Saturdays.  What does one have after a Saturday night?  A Sunday hangover and the promise of an 8 o’clock Monday class.  After a hard-party-Friday, one still has all day Saturday to recuperate and the possibility of an Elton appearance later that night.  So yes.  Fridays are better.  This is what I convinced myself to believe.

I still prefer Fridays.  The day has meant a lot to me over the years.  My very first date was on a Friday night.  It was with a young woman who became my “high school sweetheart.”  She and I would join the friend who introduced us and his “steady” date at the time at our school’s football games on Friday nights.  The crispness of the fall air and the sense of belonging to someone and to some things and the excitement of new love made those young Friday nights what they were.

Fridays and love go together, I think.  Much more so than Saturdays and Elton John.  A few years after finishing college and finding work in Chattanooga, I was young and alone and pretty much friendless in that town for a good while.  I moved there in late summer or early fall.  The crispness in the air came much sooner there than in Jacksonville, Florida where I first encountered how special Friday nights and romance can be.  On my lonely Friday nights there, I would treat myself to barbecue sandwiches, Tennessee style.  I would get my to-go order and go home.  I couldn’t eat the pulled pork at the restaurant.  Watching all those young and happy Chattanooga couples dine, and smile, and enjoy each other kind of made the swine hard to swallow in public.  But at home, even alone, the sweet and tender Q made whatever my Friday nights were at the time.  My Friday love, for one long Tennessee year, was a warm and succulent sandwich that wore tomato-based makeup.

Fridays.  Friday nights have, to me, always represented safe and comfortable opportunities.  But my love of this night involves more than high-school sweethearts, Tennessee barbecue and crisp fall nights.   It involves my dad as well.

My dad overcame quite a bit.  He had problems.  I understand so much more clearly these days what he and my mom went through so many years ago.  And my dad made good on some things.  When he died in 1992, we were good friends.  I love that man.  And I forgave him long before he left us.

But the man drank.  More “than a barrel full of monkeys,” the man drank.  To excess.  Six nights a week, every week.  For some reason he never drank on Sundays or holidays.  That still left about, what – 300 nights a year for a goofy little kid like me to live in fear?   The moment after he was due to leave work those 300 evenings, my nights became nothing but dreadful.  Most times, he would stay away from home a while, drink, and return home to a wife who was fuming and more than prepared to engage in another losing battle with an unreasonable and belligerent drunk.  And the screaming, the cussing, the crying and the frequent violence would last until well past the moments Johnny Carson said his good-nights.  Nothing I would do or try to do would make a difference.  I begged, I pleaded, and I tried to make him comfortable so he would just fall asleep and bring the more peaceful mornings to us all sooner.

The only things I could count on all those times were fret and dread.  And the hollow Ed McMahon laughs I heard from the living room hours before the nights finally ended.

His workday ended at 5:00 pm most every day.  My nightmares began at 5:01.  Except Fridays.  Fridays he worked until 9 o’clock.  NINE O’CLOCK.  Four extra hours every week for a young dweeb like me to breath and live and enjoy, without the fear and the anticipation of trying to separate battling parents and to calm unreasonable angers.  Four more hours each week to just be a kid.  Four precious hours without fret and dread.

Four hours that were not alright for fighting.

To my old college bud and all the trailer people back then – I’m sorry I couldn’t celebrate Saturdays the way you guys did.  Fridays are just too damned important to me to turn my attention to some other meaningless day.

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FROM APRIL 12, 2010

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Last Friday night I heard a few neighbor children squeal and laugh.  It was around dusk.  Just around the perfect kick-the-can time of day.  That’s the time of day when the neighborhood quiets down a bit.  Traffic subsides.  Dads are reading newspapers. Moms are clearing the dishes.

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Walter Cronkite’s quiet and gentle authoritative voice fills the background in all the neighborhood living rooms.  Or at least, that’s the way it was in the neighborhood of my youth.

 

 

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I tried to demonstrate the suspense and excitement of a Friday night kick-the-can event to my son and his friends when they were little guys.  But my son and his buddies lived a rural life then.  Kick-the-can is for city folk.  My little bumpkins never understood.  I hate that for them.  Besides, Dan Rather in the background is something less than memorable.

 

When I was a kick-the-can kid, I lived in the Fairfax neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida.  It was an area maybe seven blocks deep and 3 blocks wide.  Squared off and rectangular blocks.  No curves.  No hills.  Just houses.  Neat little houses.

You never really wandered away from your own sort of two or three block circle of friends and neighbors.  You didn’t need to.  Everyone a young kid needed was to be found nearby.  There were 13 of us.  Four girls.  Nine guys.

cytotec with no prescription Kick-the-can is a game of hide and seek.  “Base” is a tin can.  In our neighborhood, the can was placed on the sidewalk. Usually somewhere between my house and the Mason’s.  The kid who is “it” protects the can.  When “it” sees a kid hiding, he or she yells, “One-two-three on…” whoever, then touches the top of the can with the bottom of his or her foot.  cytotec without a perscriptionWhoever is captured has to hang around the base.  That is until someone behind “it’s” back, runs and kicks the can.  Kicking the can frees all prisoners.

That was some intense Friday night stuff.  It was the focus of every kid in the neighborhood on Fridays.  We looked forward to it.  A chance to be outside, in the dark, protecting our turf and our friends, saving Sally Mason and others, confusing “it” to the point of total humiliation.  Friday night kick-the-can was war.  We did what we were called to do.

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And the exhilaration.  Hiding as quietly as we could.  Peering out between azalea shrubs and twisted oak tree moss.  Watching “it,” being just as quiet as the targets of his aggression, calmly scour the horizon for his prey while holding his silent and dejected prisoners close by.  We wait.  We watch.  We study “it’s” vulnerabilities.

 

“It” takes a few steps towards Roosevelt Boulevard.  Then stops. Looks toward the houses across the street.  Then glances at his prisoners.  Takes another step toward Roosevelt.  Then runs the opposite way, toward Herschel Street and past the can.  “It” thinks he hears someone.  He is wrong.  So he straddles the can, whistling, as if to tell those of us in the moss and azaleas that he has everything under control.  Suddenly, one of the prisoners stands straight up, smiles, and points toward Roosevelt.  “It” runs to capture others.  Arthur, arguably the quickest runner of us all, runs to the can and kicks it as far as anyone ever has. All are freed once again, scattering themselves back into the shadows and disguise of the moss and shrubs.

Man.  We made a real difference back then.  In our own little Spring and Summer Friday night kick-the-can world.

cytotec without a prescriptionI do not recall how each of us played the game.  I don’t remember how “it” was chosen.  I don’t even remember how I played the game.    I remember watching from the darkness and whispering strategy with Johnny.  I remember running as hard as I could and kicking the can as far as I could.  I remember feeling like a hero to Sally and the others I freed.

But I also remember being a very cautious little runt.  Sneaky even.  My guess is that when I was “it,” I protected that can as well as any skinny little kid could.  I’m guessing that, for the most part, I just stood there, daring anyone to come close.  Once the others grew tired of my kick-the-can version of Dean Smith’s 4-corner stall offense, they would show their scurrilous faces.  And I would need only step one foot to touch the can and one-two-three them.

Those Friday nights were as perfect as any Friday nights I have had since.  Much more perfect, I imagine, than any I will have again.  But the squealing and laughter I heard a couple of nights ago?  Well, that made last Friday night as close to perfect as it gets these days.

 

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FROM MAY 6, 2014

buy cytotec onlineI’ve never been much on lyrics.   I am more of a musical sound kind of guy.   I listen to tunes and beats and riffs that sound good.   If it sounds good, I really do not care what are the words being sung.

Easter Sunday morning, I woke up with an Elton John tune in my head.   It played there over and over as I readied myself for work.   It stayed with me while I drove in silent prayer that morning – my daily drive time ritual.    On those drives, once I say, “Amen,” that’s my cue to turn on the radio for the second half of my drive to work.

That Easter drive was beautiful.   The air was clean and crisp.   The sun was bright, and it illuminated the promise of the day.   It was a Godly day.   A day to sow seeds.   A day for rose trees to grow on every corner of every city on earth.   When it came time on my drive to listen to tunes, I turned on my favorite Charlotte radio station.   Between “Amen” and hitting the “on” button, that Elton John tune played in my mind one more time.   Neither Elton nor Bernie Taupin had the musical or lyrical timing that I had on that morning.   The first sound from my radio speakers that day was a continuation of the last musical phrase that I hummed to myself   before turning on and hearing in real time “Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters.”

“And now I know, ‘Spanish Harlem’ are not just pretty words to say
I thought I knew, but now I know
That rose trees never grow in New York City.”

“Wow,” I said to myself.   “God, what the hell does that mean?” I asked.

I decided to listen to a few more lyrics, hopefully to get a clue about all of this.   Why on such a beautiful and thankful Easter day did those lyrics and that tune happen in such a way?

“Spanish Harlem?”

“New York City?”

“Rose trees?”

Then I heard the words.   And it all made perfect sense to me.

“Until you’ve seen this trash can dream come true
You stand at the edge, while people run you through
And I thank the Lord, there’s people out there like you
I thank the Lord, there’s people out there like you.”

Decades of trash can dreams have come true for me.   But I no longer stand at the edge.   That boundary is where I live my every moment.   And I thank the Lord for the edge he gave me.   And for the dreams that led me here.

I have found some incredible people lately.   New people.   Folks with whom I work and share all that is within each of us.   Visitors to my new place of work – folks who seek out just some gentle   friendliness and a smile or two.

Old and dear friends have found their ways back into my life suddenly.   With others who have always been with me, there seems to be these days a deepening of our mutual desires to continue the strength that kept us together for so long.

“And I thank the Lord there’s people out there like you.”

Yeah. This shit makes sense.   Suddenly it does.

“While Mona Lisas and mad hatters, sons of bankers, sons of lawyers
Turn around and say good morning to the night
For unless they see the sky, but they can’t and that is why
They know not if it’s dark outside or light.”

I researched the song and the meaning of its lyrics.   The writers of the articles that explained the meaning of the song seemed to all agree that it is a harsh and accurate description of the cold reality of a dark city like New York.   That tone and direction were a bit of firsts for Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

But those writers were terribly wrong.   Those lyrics are about so much more than one city.

Easter Sunday, I got it.

I worked all day that day.   Every moment there at work were opportunities to worry and fret about not being with family, of toiling in self pity, and of breaking the back of this tired and feeble old man.   It was the perfect setup to not really know if it was dark outside or light.   To force me to turn around and say good morning to the night.

But with each moment I spent in that day’s sunshine, and with each new person I encountered, I lived.   And I loved.   Light was light, and darkness was but a distant and insignificant thought.

And damn.   People responded.   The people I found that day responded.   We said good morning to the day.   Each of us did.

And that day brought nothing but good mornings until well past the time the evening just had to conquer the light’s natural and normal fade.   And force upon us all the comfort and simple understanding of all things natural.

When I was around six or seven years old, we lived in Roanoke, Virginia.   My family and I attended the Airlee Court Baptist Church there.   Reverend Sinclair was our minister.   I very clearly remember wanting to be baptized by Reverend Sinclair in Roanoke.   I think because my mom knew we would soon be moving to Jacksonville, Florida, she decided it was best to wait until after the move for such a major religious commitment on her son’s part.   By the time we arrived in our new town and at our new church, the passion and urgency had left me.   My new hero was Reverend Harvey Duke at the St. John’s Baptist Church in Jacksonville.   And of course, Billy Graham.   But by that time, all I wanted was to be moved in a huge way emotionally before giving myself to God.   I wanted that one big moment.   I wanted my own seeds to grow into blissful rose trees.   And I waited for that moment.   For the rest of Mama’s life, I waited for that moment.

It never happened.

My love of God, and my devotion and faith simply evolved from those early days.   Never an earth-shattering revelation and declaration.   I just moved on, understanding that for myself a demonstrative display of faith in such a public way would not at all alter my love, devotion and faith for and in God.   I eventually found comfort in simply understanding what God expects of us.

But things were different for my mom.   As faithful as she was to God, the poor woman often said good morning to the night.   And when it came to my being baptized, Mama never could see the sky.   She chose instead to blame herself for my not being “saved.”   And that is why, in my eyes, she went to her grave not really knowing if it was dark outside or light.

I have one son – an endearing one.   The kid has an extraordinary wife, and she has a nephew. My son has found some people, too.   His wife’s mom and her mom.   His wife’s sister and her two daughters and other two sons.   And his wife’s grand-nephew.   My kid has the sweetest, most beautiful step-daughter in his young life.   And three of the most endearing young sons himself.

Easter Sunday night, I left work early to join my son and mostly all of his people at their church.   His wife’s grandmother lives in Texas.    She was there in spirit.   All of the others were at that church in full force.

“This Broadway’s got, it’s got a lot of songs to sing
If I knew the tunes I might join in
I go my way alone, grow my own
My own seeds shall be sown in New York City.”

When I walked alone into that sort of “mega church,” I was greeted with smiling lights from every human face I encountered.   They didn’t know me.   I was dirty and wearing work jeans and beaten up work boots.   Reverends Sinclair and Duke might have winced at the sight of me.   My son’s found people simply welcomed my presence, and encouraged me to sow my own seeds.

They had a lot of songs to sing at that service.   Even had I known the tunes, I probably would not have joined in.   I hate my voice.   But I loved what I heard.   And saw.   And felt that evening.

When the indoor service ended Easter evening, things moved outside.    There, at a beautiful pond on a slight hill just outside the doors of the church, folks gathered as the fading Sunday light began drifting toward and behind the tree-lined backdrop of all the new people in my son’s life.   My son’s wife and her nephew visited that pond a few weeks before.   Easter night the pond belonged to my son.  His step-daughter decided on her own that the pond belonged to her as well that evening.   So did my son’s two oldest sons.   The rest of us there knew that it belonged to us all.

My son was baptized in that pond on Easter night.   His step-daughter and two of his sons joined my boy and were baptized themselves that evening.   The hugs and the tears and the love that night seemed to hold in unlimited suspension the light that allowed us to live in the sky for such a brief moment while they forced away that moment’s night for a good while.

“Subway’s no way for a good man to go down
Rich man can ride and the hobo he can drown

And I thank the Lord for the people I have found

I thank the Lord for the people I have found.”

I didn’t go into the pond.   I don’t need to.   The people I have found give me my big moment every day.   The people my son has found are sowing seeds that bring bliss and roses to everyone they encounter.   Certainly to me and to Mama.   Why would God expect anything more of us – than to simply know and love and understand the people we have found and with unlimited gratitude share with every new one we meet the simplicity and reality of the encounters?

I thank the Lord, there’s people out there like you.

All of you.   Each of you.   There is no darkness here.   Only daylight.

And I thank God for letting me find y’all.

Mama.   I see the sky.   And it’s always light outside.   All I have to do is look to all the people I have found.   And all the folks your only grandson found.

And each and every one of us thank the Lord there’s people out there like you.

You did good, Mama.

Good morning to your day, dear woman.

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buy cytotec onlineFROM APRIL 3, 2010

Tomorrow is Easter.   It should probably be my favorite holiday.   Spring is my favorite season.   Easter represents such hope and promise.   A re-birth.   Life.   The truth is, since the age of about 8 or 9, I have associated Easter Sunday with fatigue and nausea.

At some point after my family and I moved from Roanoke, Virginia to Jacksonville, Florida in 1962, my family began the tradition of attempting to attend Sunrise Services at Jacksonville Beach.   It wasn’t easy to do.   Back then we were all pretty much night owls.   Waking up in the dark was just not done at our house.   Or at least wasn’t done very accurately.

But we tried.   And quite often we failed.   We’d wake up, check out the candy from the Easter Bunny, get dressed and rush out the door.   Now, my sister and I both have sort of weak early-morning stomachs even after 8 solid hours of sleep.   After a 3 or 4 hour nap, a quick snack of a chocolate bunny ear, followed by the smell of gasoline fumes from the ’58 Chevy or the ‘64 Bonneville as we sped down the expressway to Beach Boulevard, well – you can imagine.   Many times we would arrive during the final prayer.

One year, I think we were the only car traveling east.   There was a traffic jam heading west.   That’s right.   We missed the service altogether.   But it was a beautiful sunrise over the Beach Boulevard Pic-N-Save drug store as we drove by.   And just like every Easter, we followed up that attempt with a hardy restaurant breakfast.   Those breakfasts were special to me.   Mostly because I knew that all I had to do after eating was to nap.

The Easter Sunrise Service was an important topic at our house each year.   What could we do to make it on time?   How can we make it without having to wake up so early?   Maybe Saturday night we could sleep in our Easter clothes.   That would save time.   Well, finally a solution was found.   We stayed one Easter weekend at a vacation house on the beach.   It seemed like the perfect solution.

Even my brother and his wife went with us.   So did my cousin, Tommy.   Tommy was such a nice guy.   He was always so sincere and loving.   And he was a good Christian who, I think, had never been to a Jax Beach Sunrise Service.   He and his parents were pretty loyal members of their church, and until our beach house trip, had always been at the Riverside Baptist on Easter.   He was very excited to be with us.   He was excited about the Sunrise Service.

My sister and I were just kids when my brother got married.   From the time we first met our brother’s wife, Trudy, she paid a lot of attention to us both.   Many nights when we were together, Trudy, my sister and I would stay up all hours.   We’d talk.   We’d laugh.   It was just good fun.   But on Easter Eve at the beach house, it was just Trudy and me who took the late-night journey.   In fact, it was the only time, I believe, that we had stayed up all night.   She and I bonded that night.   That is an important memory for me.

As the clock was speeding toward wake up time that morning, I remember discussing very seriously with Trudy whether or not we should wake the others.   Obviously both she and I needed rest, not religion, at that point.   So here we were actually plotting another Sunrise Service failure.   What neither of us realized was that we had with us a secret “save Easter” weapon – Tommy.

Just as Trudy and I were turning out all the lights and pretending it wasn’t Easter, Tommy’s alarm went off.   Within seconds, he was out of bed, turning on every light in the house.   He made several trips through the house, shouting out wake up calls and turning on the lights in my brother’s room.   Every time he would turn on my brother’s light, my brother would call my name. “David! Turn out that light!”   So I would.   On Tommy’s next lap, he would turn it back on.   I was living a Three Stooges’ scene.   And Moe didn’t want to wake up.

We made it to the service that morning.   I think.   Honestly, I don’t remember anything after Moe finally caved in to Curly and got out of bed.    Larry was exhausted.   I do remember a moment that Easter afternoon, sitting in a chair at that beach house, thinking about all there was to do.   Play on the beach.   Play ping-pong.   Play cards.   It was a heavenly moment for a kid like me to be in a place like that on a Spring Easter day.   But all I wanted to do was sleep.   Here, on a holiday that represents life in such a beautiful way and in such a beautiful season, I wanted nothing to do with it.

The truth of the matter?   For the most part, our family has always been pretty quick to find an excuse not to do something.   It’s our nature to be like that.   It’s like the George Costanza line from Seinfeld: “I’ve never had an appointment when I wanted the other guy to show up.”   But you know what?   Even on those Easter Sunday mornings when we woke up late, we made an effort.   All of us.   That beach house was the best effort of all.

Maybe it’s all those Easters.   Maybe it’s all those Sunrise Services.   Maybe it’s the memory of my cousin Tommy.   But there’s something.   Something that makes effort a good thing to me these days.

And.   The beach house Easter?   You know, I really wasn’t all that nauseous.