CLASSIC LUNAR – “SEGMENTS” From June 23, 2014

FROM JUNE 23, 2014

I guess, if we’ve done stuff right, we hold within ourselves meaningful memories. The most meaningful ones come from the folks who have graced our lives over time.

I have shared with you many memories that came from folks like that. They were about a grandmother who said to me, “Please don’t go!” About a grandfather who trusted me with his tool shed. An aunt who brought me a birthday cake. An uncle who took me fishing.

They were about my dad who made me laugh. My brother who remembered a fallen war hero. My sister who cared for my ailing mom. There was one about a cousin who sent a timely message of encouragement.

There have been many of my son and his wife, and their children. They once filled my empty cupboard with fresh food. My grandsons laughed at me and called me by my new name, “Paw-Paw.” My granddaughter cooked eggs with me.

And my friends – there are many stories of those who lifted me when there was no other direction I could go alone.

It’s funny. When I look at all of those moments objectively, I mostly think of just the stories and of the folks who created them. The stories each, seemingly, intertwine with nothing. They are each merely segments. Segments of time.

Maybe they don’t need to intertwine. Maybe they need to simply exist. But how do I reconcile the simple existence of mere portions of life after what I was given by a woman who embodied the emotional ties that bind all such moments?

She has some segments, too. I’ve shared her moments quite a bit over the years. I look at those times as I do all of the others. At first. But when I remember hers, and when I try to classify them, she clouds things a bit for me. When I think of her, all of my segments lose their definition. And her moments magically fall into place behind all of them.

Her moments have driven all of my life’s portions.

It was her mother who pleaded with me. It was her dad who showed a young child how to use a hammer. Her sister did the baking and delivering. Her favorite brother-in-law baited my hook. Her husband was the clown. Her oldest son remembered. Her daughter cared. Her niece was the timely one. Her grandchild and his family filled my cupboard, laughed and changed my name – and cooked eggs. And the friends? Without what I was given by her, I would never have been able to put a true value on those folks who lifted me all those times.

The woman seemed to bring order to things in my life. She still does. She has, for the past sixty years, taken all of those segments – all of them – and through emotion and love scrambled them into the one solid memory that I need. It’s the only memory that allows me to trace, to a single moment, my very own history and the origin of all of the elements that comprise my life.

That single moment happened when I met my mother.

And the moments following? With her? There were laughs. There were smiles. There were tears. There was some genuine stuff going on. But the definitions of her segments were always clouded by her ability to intertwine those moments in such an inclusive manner.

The one where she stayed up all night to save the life of her son’s goldfish. It was a sweet and singular moment much like all of those from each of the other folks in my life. But when she saved that little swimmer’s life, she didn’t stop there. She brought life to fatherhood – mine. She brought life to my son. And to his children. The days and hours and moments that have passed from that night in 1960, when she stayed hunched over that bathtub in her goldfish emergency room until well after daybreak the next day, clouded that one moment in time into lives – real ones – mine, my son’s and those of his children and into the lives of every child we each touch these days.

The woman seemed relentless in including more into simple moments that were, until she stepped in, easily and clearly defined. Like the time I fell from a tree and hurt my back so badly that the neighborhood dads rushed me to the hospital. All she had to do was to let me heal and move on. That would have been enough to give me a simple segment and a story to tell one day. But on the day I was hurt, she remembered what I said of a purple and flowered dress she wore not long before that accident. I said to her, “I love that dress, Mama.” She looked beautiful in that dress.

That afternoon at the hospital, she arrived wearing purple and flowers. She knew she could do nothing to help heal me that day. But she did what she could. She wore that dress. And she knew. Words and thoughts that come from other folks mean things. So do deeds that come from mothers in purple dresses.

If I was the only one who understood what she did that day, this, too, might just be another sweet moment – just another segment. But Mama clouded this, too, and included in my life deeds and words that I see and hear and feel from my very own son and his wife. I have seen the very same stuff from my brother and sister. Even from my young grandchildren.

They all wear purple and flowered dresses from time to time. They each bring goldfish back to life. And those friends? When they see purple dresses and rescued gold fish, they understand. They understand Mama, and they wear and rescue, too. My survival is proof of that.

The woman gave me life. She loved me. She showed me how to use her kind of love to survive and prosper in such ways – beautiful and clouded ways that take my regimented sort of segments, blend them into things that are difficult to define but that include all of the loving and funny and sweet and endearing moments her son has been allowed to live.

All of them.

No one but Mama could do such a thing.

No one.

Ninety-four years ago, on June 23, way before she gave me life, the woman graced me with the promise of some meaningful stuff. That was the day Mama was born.

I cannot say how much right stuff I have done all these years. I would argue that I haven’t done nearly enough. But by clouding segments into six decades of meaning that intertwine perfectly with every moment her son has lived, well…

mama young

I’d say Mama did some stuff right.

THE LUNAR REPORT – “DISAPPEARING DADS” June 18, 2017

I know what it’s like to be without a father on Father’s Day. In this regard, I have been alone for almost twenty-five years. But before the most important man in my life died, he was there for me. In his own bizarre and fun and wonderfully generous ways. Frankly, I blame that man for much of my bizarre behavior the past sixty-three years. There are certainly others to blame – mostly my own twisted self – but this is about Father’s Day.

And. This is not about my dad. It’s not about any dad, really.

 It’s about the kids of dads who disappeared.

It struck me tonight that many of my friends, family, and kids I have known and loved for decades are mostly – or always – without their dads.   And have been since their youth or forever. Well, this is my possibly bizarre attempt to ease the pain of those folks who often need the love of a rarely or never found dad.

Look, I think I know how men can be. I mean, I am a man myself.

I am well aware of a man’s urge to simply walk away from everything. When I was a young man, all I wanted to do was to walk away from real life.  All I wanted was to live alone on a farm somewhere. Just me.

And my dog, McFee. At that time, all other possibilities scared the hell out of me.

I somehow overcame that fear. For a time, anyway. So I took a job, got married and had a child myself. But, as my wife was suffering through the labor that brought my son to life, my very first “man” reaction was to get the hell out of that room and take McFee to the farm!

Seriously.

I feel like I was privileged back then. My own dad gave me a college education, I was given a great job and a wife that I loved dearly. Still, when my very own son was being born, I wanted to run like hell!

My dad and young son

I guess I stayed around for the very same reason my dad never permanently left me or my siblings. But the man left us plenty of times. I have very few memories of my dad being around when I was young. I think he tried his damnedest to find his own farm. But he always came back. And I think I know why.

Men are strong. In many ways. But when it comes to our children and to the mothers of our children, well there is a weakness many of the strongest men cannot overcome. And my dad was weak. Very weak in this regard.

I guess what I am saying here is that men who want to be or believe that they are strong enough to overcome the weakness of love find themselves in uncontrollably awkward situations. So they leave. For a while or forever.

Look, the ultimate weakness in men who totally leave their children in favor of their devotion to their own strength, is no excuse for neglecting the children that define the man. But to those kids who feel totally neglected, here are my thoughts.

My dad left me, plenty of times. But I forgave him. And he knew that. If he had been as strong as your dad, he would have never returned. And if he had never returned, well – again, I was privileged. I knew the man well enough to know that, without any doubts, the man – my dad – loved me.

And would forever.

My son and his dad

I also know that if I had run away from my child’s birth, like I wanted to, I may not even know the kid right now.   But I am certain that I would love him just as much as my dad loved me.

My guess is that your dads feel the very same about their love for you.

CLASSIC LUNAR – “MAN IN A TRANCE” From June 15, 2014

FROM JUNE 15, 2014

I guess one takes from songs what they need to hear. I first heard this one in the early ’90s – maybe ’91 or ’92. It was released in 1991. And what I heard in those lyrics and felt in that tune are likely nothing even close to what the artist intended. But this is a really good time to talk about that song.

It’s about a place, a meaningful place that’s the most meaningful one I have ever known. Each time I hear that song, I connect with some important stuff. Some meaningful stuff.

Had it not been for an old and departed man very dear to me, I may never have been delivered to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. That’s where the man pretty much began his family. With a wife and a toddler and a GI Bill education at the university there. I began my family there, too. And like him, I was educated there as well – in so many things.

It is there that I learned of “dogs barking and birds singing and of sap rising and the sighs of angels.”

My life is so much like that man’s life was – certainly in the destructive ways. I learned from him the value of financial responsibility. Like him, I mostly dodge such responsible actions. But, like him again, if I have but one shirt to my name, and you need that cloth, it will be yours. The man’s mother said to me one time, “Joe would give the shirt off his back.” That quality was likely his downfall. It will likely be mine as well. And like him, I do not care if it is.

I have discovered of late that I have some of that man’s social skills. He was a very round man. A big guy. His clothing style was limited to his budget at the big man’s clothing shop. And most of his triple-x shirts were stained from the three or so previous meals. But somehow, in between his chubby cheeks, his vision seemed to take aim and land squarely into the eyes of the onlookers and bring smiles and laughs to the faces his smiling and laughing face and eyes always encouraged.

I am very thin. But unless one thinks that wearing twenty-year-old Converse low-cuts is more fashionable than food-stained big men’s clothes, then our wardrobes are pretty much the same. My shirt stains, though, are not from old meals. Neither are my blue jean stains. All of that comes from something else I got from the man – laziness. Washing clothes is something we both find and found to be deplorable.

But folks smile and laugh at me, too. I am not at all as funny as he was. I never will be. But I do not care about that either. I now know what the man felt when folks smiled and laughed back at him all of those times during all of those troubled years. I see such things these days through eyes not impeded by chubby cheeks. I see that stuff very clearly.

The man was not perfect. But I admire him. And while I do not try to be like him, I will always be, I suppose.  Still, I have tried to master one of his finest skills. I have failed miserably. It cannot be duplicated. Not by me. It simply cannot.

The opening line of the song suggests that old folks never know why they call things the way they do. Well, I am an old guy these days. Maybe I am misguided in my simple interpretation of the song, but I will call this the way that I do – and have – since my dad died around the time of that song’s release.

Each time, during the past 22 years, that I hear James Taylor’s “Copperline,” I think of my dad.

“Half a mile down to Morgan Creek,
leaning heavy on the end of the week.”

Morgan Creek is a well known waterway just outside of the town my dad made well known to me – Chapel Hill. And, like Daddy always did, so, too, do I lean heavy on the end of the week.

And the man was quite the dancer. Even as an old man, weighing way too much and wearing seersucker jackets, the man spun and twirled and dazzled women on the dance floor. Old ones his own age. And young ones – daughters-in-law, nieces, granddaughters and even strangers who were beautiful and wonderfully amazed at the old man’s dance floor moves. The man could dance. That was maybe his finest skill.

“One time I saw my daddy dance, watched him moving like a man in a trance.  He brought it back from the war in France, down onto Copperline.” (James Taylor.)

When I hear that song, I think of all the most meaningful stuff in my life. But you know what? When I hear James Taylor sing that one line, I remember the most meaningful man in my life. The man in a trance.

The man who could dance.

 

CLASSIC LUNACY – “APOLOGIES” From June 13, 2014

FROM JUNE 13, 2014

 

I have a dad. But I am a dad, too. And this is Father’s Day.

This week’s “Father’s Day” Lunar Report deals with my dad. I guess this Lunacy should deal with the poor child who has had to wish me a happy Father’s Day every year since the mid-80’s.

I differ a bit from my dad. He was rarely apologetic.   Well, he was regretful, I think – when he did things that maybe harmed at the time those he loved.   But in his life patterns?   He was apologetic to no one.   He was who he was.   And I admire his neglect of apologies when it came to the life that he chose.

But me? I’m a wimp. I readily acknowledge that.  In my mind, apologies are due.

To my son – I apologize for the time when you were just a toddler, and when I asked my best friend to baby sit you.  When I returned home that afternoon, the vision of you walking around the house with your diaper around your knees as you carried yet another beer to your fast asleep babysitter still haunts me.

I apologize for the time I asked you, after attending a Carolina basketball game, to steal toilet paper from the arena’s bathroom because we were broke and out of TP at home.

I apologize for my “sex talk” with you.   I tried to tell you some valuable stuff.   You just looked at me, rolled your eyes and said, “Oh, Dad!”   My wimpy self scratched the back of my head, looked down at the floor and responded, “Well, okay.   Just promise me that when you feel like pulling your pants down, you call me first!”

I apologize for the times you came home from school and found me asleep on the sofa with Court TV on the tube.   I really am sorry that those times I could not answer your “so what’s up with OJ?” questions.

I apologize for all of those cheeseburger steaks and green peas.   That was your dad’s easy way out.   But, damn! You slammed down every bite!

I apologize for serving for desert what you called “ghetto cookies.”   But cinnamon toast is damned tasty.

Look, I have many more apologies I could list here.   Deeper and more meaningful ones.   But all I can seem to think about right now is that my only child and his wife have four children of their own.   That could possibly mean that they will one day have FOUR times the apologies that I have right now.   Damn.   Really, son.   I am so sorry about that sex talk screw up!

My two favorite adults!

There really are many apologies that I could I make. But they are all so pallid when lined up next to all of my moments of gratitude.   Thank you, child – and your wife and my granddaughter and grandsons – for defining for me, in the most elaborate of ways, what old-man pride is all about.

“Beautiful!”

“Magruder!”

“Seth-Man!” Or “Little Paul!”

Ha! “Sweet-P!”

THE LUNAR REPORT – “BIZARRE TELEVISION” June 5, 2017

Look, I am a sucker for DVRing bizarre television series and watching other bizarre ones on Netflix.  

But when I watch one of those shows, I mostly begin the viewing by fast forwarding past the opening credits.

You know, like everyone else, I am in a hurry to get to the main story!

Well, let me tell you about “House Of Cards,” a Netflix show.

First of all, as soon as the new second, third, fourth and fifth season’s began, I was lost! Totally lost! So each time a new season has begun, I am forced to watch ALL the episodes from the previous season! That’s a wonderful indication of just how twisted and bizarre is this show! Currently, I am only five episodes into last year’s shows!

But here is the most twisted part of this post. I really do not care how much of a rush I am in when I begin to watch a “House Of Cards” episode. I might be hungry and anxious to eat my lunch or dinner while watching. I might be late for a doctor’s appointment or work meeting. I may even really be dying to use the bathroom at the moment! But, damn it, I cannot fast forward through the opening music of that show!

Seriously! I am mesmerized by the opening theme. I researched my mesmerization tonight. The guy who composed that music is Jeff Beal.

JEFF BEAL

Below are two links. One is Beal explaining the creation of the theme. The other link is the theme itself.

Thanks for putting up with my twisted nonsense here. But Jeff Beal’s sound really is fantastic!

 

THE LUNAR REPORT – “ALWAYS DREAMING” May 6, 2017

 

Always Dreaming was today’s Kentucky Derby winner. But as long as the poor young nag keeps racing, his dreams of running without being brutally whipped are futile.

 

I watched today’s Derby. That’s something I rarely do. Now I remember why I have avoided this spectacle.

 

As the race was ending, here is what I saw: 20 three-year-old colts and mares, running as fast as they could, while their, what I call “drivers-” not “riders”- were beating the hell out of them.

 

 

Meanwhile, the cameras covering the event showed multi-million dollar “owners,” cheering the beatings of their very own living property! All the while, sipping Kentucky mint juleps!

 

Look, I am a NASCAR fan. And those drivers beat the hell out of their modes of speedy transportation as well. But those beatings are mostly accidental. And when their modes can no longer perform, changes are made. They use duct tape. They change tires. They repair twisted metal. They add fuel!  And – they drink beer!

 

But what NASCAR owners never do is send their useless and beaten living vehicles to a deserted pasture to merely bide time until the glue factory sends a pick-up truck – while it’s wealthy owner sips more juleps, buys more young living things whose whippings will one day create even more self-serving smiles and cheers!

If I were a young and fast horse, I would treasure the name of “Always Dreaming.”

Let’s face it. Dreams are all that young thoroughbreds have!

THE LUNAR REPORT – “HOW TO BE FIDO” April 20, 2017

I taught the youngest guy how to be a dog. I sat mostly in silence with the middle guy for a good while before convincing him what a dweeb I was. I warned the oldest guy about where to not put his head. And I told the oldest of them all that my legs had never felt smoother.

This is my life as a granddad. At least it was during a recent six-day Easter trip to Texas with the bunch. “The Bunch” is what I call my son and his wife and her daughter and sister and mother and my son’s children and a couple of nephews. “The Bunch!” I really want nothing but the best for The Bunch. My hope is that my behavior around each of them didn’t dash their hopes of me!

I think I treated the nephews and the sister and the mother with fun but with respect as well. My son and his wife, though? Well, that’s up to interpretation. Whatever I said to those two, I hope they accept my apologies or appreciate my understanding of them both. Those are important notions to an old dad of a long-time and loving son and a relatively new but wonderful daughter. But the notions are pretty much unimportant ones.  At least they are when it comes to the meat of “The Bunch!”

The most beautiful of The Bunch is the oldest child. A young woman who is close to being as wonderful as her mom. They both posses the ultimate beauty. Inside and out. But I am such a dork. I mean, I appreciate their beauty, but what drives me is being able to make them both laugh! And I made the mom laugh a few times – at her own expense. I apologize for those times. But the daughter, my granddaughter, set me up for the following punch line.

As we were preparing to leave the hotel to return to North Carolina, the granddaughter, a 14-year-old, asked me to give the shaving cream and razor she left in my room to my son to pack and bring back home. I assured her that I would and then said, “Oh, crap! I saw that in the shower and I used it! Man, my legs have never been smoother!” I am not sure if she and her mom were embarrassed by my comments. But, damn it, they both laughed!

The oldest grandson is a wonderful kid. He’s only around ten years old. But just like the oldest nephew, a seventeen-year-old, he so readily offers and delivers the help anyone around him needs. I asked the nephew for help a couple of times, and he obliged. In his natural ways. But just as natural were the ways my grandson helped. Without having been asked. Look, there were eleven of us traveling in a van from North Carolina to Texas. Five adults, two young teens, and four young-ins. Most of my time was spent on the far back bench seat. Underneath that seat was my luggage. At some point during the trip, I needed something from my luggage. So I struggled, trying to pull my bag from underneath my seat. And suddenly, without my request for help, the oldest grandson appeared and crawled on the floor of the van to pull out what I needed. He assured me he would take care of it. So, I raised and spread my legs to give him access to the luggage. Well, the kid would have succeeded, I think. But the closer he got to me, the more I understood his sense of humor. So I said to him, as his head approached my crotch, “Dude! Watch where you put your head!” Once the kid stopped laughing, he said to the nephew, “Man – did you hear what Paw Paw said?” And – I never retrieved my luggage.

I think I identify mostly with my “middle grandson.” While he is not even close to being as insecure as I was a kid, he is much closer than the others. Like I always was as a kid, this one seems to feel guilty about minor things, is way too apologetic about stuff, and is not afraid to shed a tear or two. Well, I am not at all sure how he feels about me right now. During an Easter egg hunt at a park in Dallas on Easter day, I noticed that he was sitting alone on some cement steps with his head down. I walked away from all the others and sat down next to him. We said very little at first. He just needed someone next to him for a while. Then, we began to talk. He told me what was on his mind. Then I told him what a dweeb his granddad was as a child. About how my older brother used to pick on me. About how my brother and sister used to call me dumb and stupid. About how I reacted when I lost at Monopoly! I said to him, “Man – I never won at Monopoly! And my brother and sister would just gloat and laugh and I always ended up throwing the Monopoly board off the table in anger! I was such a jerk back then.” That kid wiped away a couple of tears and said, “Paw Paw, you are not a jerk.” And then he smiled! Finally he smiled.

Then – there’s “Sweet-P!” That’s what I call the youngest. The spelling of his name begins with a “p.” And he is a very sweet kid. But I will be honest with you. I have never known a child like this one. When I see and hear things from Sweet-P,      I see the next Robin Williams or John Belushi or Chevy Chase or Johnny Carson on the horizon. This kid is a bit gullible as well. Or. Maybe the kid just actually understands the value of becoming a dog right now in his life. The kid is five years old. A couple of years ago, he asked to have a bite of the food I was eating. I told him that he would have to beg for it. Like a dog. I said, “Speak!” He very quickly caught on and responded with a dog bark! At that point, I labeled Sweet-P as “Fido!” A couple of mornings ago, at the free breakfast at the Dallas hotel where we were staying, Fido began eating his Fruit Loops without a human inspired spoon. And each time I told him to speak, the kid would bark. Later in the trip, we were eating lunch outside somewhere, and he began to bark and pant like a dog. And God forgive me for this, but I asked Fido to show me how he scratches his ear. Naturally, the kid used his right hand to show me. That’s when I said, “No! Dogs use their feet to scratch their ears!” The kid took off one of his flip-flops and began to scratch his right ear with his right foot! And he did it many times during the following few days! After our last meal together, during some times when Sweet-P seemed to get out of control a bit, all I had to say was, “Fido! Sit!” Man! The kid would sit! And bark! And, again, would scratch his ear with his foot!

Look, here is my message to my son and his wife and others: For the love of God, at some point do your best to protect your children from such a demented granddad!

In the meantime, thank you and your young-ins for giving an old man such joy!

THE LUNAR REPORT – “SHORT LIVES” February 25, 2017

Last night, I asked this question on Facebook:

“What goes through the minds of lifelong and dear friends when their lifelong and dear friends simply oppose the political beliefs of those they love dearly?”

 

The responses I got were actually all wonderful ones. And I heard from three really beautiful and longtime friends and loved ones. Friends who disagree somewhat with my simple political views.  But then, today, things happened. Serious things.

So, I thanked all my friends for responding to that rather nebulous question. Below is my response to them all. I wouldn’t post this on The Lunar Report if I did not think it was important. So thank you guys for bearing with me!

“Thank you all for replying and helping here. And to Gary and Preston, I totally understand you both. Gary, I am sorry for what you guys have been going through, but I am very happy about the remission. And, Preston! Hearing from you made my day! Knowing you is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened to me. It is! And I miss your smile, your eyes and your beautiful kindness. The healthcare issue you both mentioned is a more specific issue than what my original post is about. But, damn it! Your responses helped me in the most perfect ways.

Do y’all mind if I tell you about my day? Please bear with me here.

This morning, shortly after reading the posts from you, Gary, and you, Preston, I drove 30-minutes to watch my youngest grandson play basketball. He’s only five, so, at this point, his strongest skill is to charm the three little girls on his team. And he really gets into that!

 

After that game, I had some time to kill before my oldest grandson played in a tournament game. So, I was able to go to lunch with my son, his wife, all four of my grandchildren, and my daughter-in-law’s mother. Man! I had one grandchild on my left, another on my right and their parents sat directly across from me. There were laughs, there were smiles, there was nonsense, and there was some serious love.

 

My talented nine-year-old grandson played his heart out. Still, his team lost that later game. But his team won, too. Before the game, his dad, one of the coaches, organized, again, a pre-game center court prayer circle that included the other team, all coaches and even the two referees. It was quite a moving moment.

So much so, that I had to look away to keep my emotions controlled a bit as my son delivered that prayer. So, I looked up, through the skylights in the gym. There I saw a clear blue sky with fast moving and wonderful white clouds drifting by. That’s when I thought of my mother. She would have been so damned proud of her grandson, her great grandson and all of their Saturday afternoon associates at that moment.

 

We all parted ways after the game. After that, I returned home, and I met two new young friends. Marcellus and Desmond. They are neighbors that I had never met until late this afternoon. They are both around nine or ten years old. I was on my porch when I first saw them. They were walking down my walkway. And Marcellus was carrying a small box – one that I readily recognized. It was the same shaped box of the medication that I need daily and had been expecting. It hat been delivered to my neighbor’s house by mistake. Marcellus handed me the box. Offered his name and extended his hand for a kind and gentle shake. Desmond stayed back a bit, but presented such a warm and friendly smile when I asked his name and thanked them both.

Shortly after meeting my two young friends, I heard some disturbing news about a guy I also call my friend. We really weren’t pals. We were co-workers who enjoyed each others’ company during and after work for a few years. But this man made everyone he ever met feel like his best friend. He did! Well, my friend died suddenly today, doing some volunteer firefighting training in Michigan.  His name is Ron Savage.

Look, I am not looking for pity or sympathy or anything like that. But my family and their love of God and of each other and their laughter and successes and failures, Marcellus’ and Desmond’s lives and my long-time friend’s death kind of brought this day and my original post full circle. And it kind of forces me to use a cliché. Life really is way too damned short. It is way too short to ever allow a simple vote for a man we have never known alter in any way the love we have for those we do know and meet and cherish. It really is, y’all!

Forgive me for becoming so emotional here. But true emotions really should be reserved for those we have grown to cherish during each moment of our damned short and loving lives!”

THE LUNAR REPORT – “I AM BENATRIPPEN!” February 21, 2017

Discussing body rashes on The Lunar Report is really something that turns me off.   But, dang!   I have had a rather itchy rash for days.

So, today, I went to Walgreens. I told the pharmacist there about the rash and that I thought it was shingles. I asked for some over the counter recommendations I could use until I see a doctor in a couple of days.

 

The Walgreens’ guy was very helpful. He showed me an ointment that would relieve the itching. Then he said, “And I recommend also taking Benadryl. Now, it might make you a little drowsy, but it may help.”

 

I took the man’s advice. About fifteen minutes after taking a couple of doses of the drug, the itching just stopped. And, naturally, I said to myself, “Damn! That Walgreens’ guy knows his stuff!” Then, the Benadryl really kicked in.

That’s when I read the fine print on the package. I think. My vision was terribly blurred by that time. “There will be marked drowsiness. Do not use alcohol when taking this drug. Excitability may occur.”

A mistake or two was made. And the printed warnings came way too late to correct them.

The pharmacist used the words, “… a little drowsy.” And never mentioned the alcohol or excitability things. So, I had a couple of drinks after the itching was relieved. You know. To celebrate. But “a LITTLE drowsy?”

Man! Just a few minutes ago, I tried to go to the bathroom and fell down like five times! I kept falling asleep on the way to the john! But I was so excited, I just picked myself up, had another drink and laughed.

So, look. Once the rash clears, I am having a “BYOB Party” at my place! You are all invited, especially the Walgreen’s guy. And I will provide all the alcohol!

But you MUST Bring Your Own Benadryl!  I promise you, I will run out of mine long before the party!  Help me out and share yours, though.  I promise, also, that I will crunch it up and share the straw!

In the words of Tony “Scarface” Montana: “This is paradise, I’m tellin’ ya.”

 Man! I love this stuff!!!!

THE LUNAR REPORT – “LIGHT WEIGHT PROTESTS” February 17, 2017

See, by now, you guys must think I am just a crusty, hard-headed and conservative old Southern man who has never fought for justice and civil liberties. Well, in the words of our president, “Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!”

Just today, in light of some student protests here in Charlotte, I have been pondering my past. Today, some local students walked out of school to protest the interactions between ICE and immigrants. Well, I am here to tell you that those students are light weight.

 

Walking out of school? Just walking out? They used today as the perfect opportunity to ditch school for the day. This day also happened to be a “make up “ day for bad weather that happened a while back. So, of course they walked out! I mean, come on! Even a crusty, hard-headed and conservative old Southern man like me would have done the same thing.

 

I organized my first protest fifty-one years ago. And at the time, I , too, was a young public school student. At Fishweir Elementary School in Jacksonville, Florida. Back then, kids had what they called, “play periods.” That’s when the teacher would take us outside to “play!”

 

 

 

 

As a sixth grader in 1966, “play period” meant “kickball!” And kickball during play period was the most fun kids my age had back then. And Fishweir had some pretty good and new kickballs that were full of air and quite kickable!

 

 

Well, late one morning, as our play period began, we went outside to enjoy some kicking and the beautiful day. The very first kicker that day pounded the ball, as hard as he could, toward the sideline and the top of the chain link fence. It really was a powerful kick. But the damned ball wedged between the spikes on top of the fence and an old and hard oak tree.

 

 

 

 

The ball deflated. Immediately.

 

 

 

Well, that seemed to baffle, what I call our “play period guy.” I really don’t know what the hell the guy did, but he was about sixty years younger than our teacher, so he watched us play every day.

 

 

 

And he really did garner more respect from the twenty-five or so twelve year olds than did our ninety-five year old teacher. But on this day, he decided to, instead of finding another ball, make us clean up the playground. Seriously.

 

Well, that disturbed us all terribly. So, I organized all of us kids to have a sit down strike. We formed a semi-circle, sat side by side, clapping our hands, swaying left and right and chanting, “We shall overcome.” Again, I am being very serious here. The poor play period guy was baffled. He had a dirty playground, a busted ball and twenty-five twelve year olds swaying and chanting. He did all that he could do at the time. He let us protest!

 

Eventually, a real teacher or someone came out to break up the discourse. Our teacher never showed. I think she was getting an oxygen treatment or something. But whoever it was made us go inside. And, we did not have to clean the damned playground! We won! Play period guy lost!

Because of what happened in Charlotte today, and because of my twisted memories and thoughts, I just had to contact my daughter-in-law and son. They have four children who are home schooled. I really did have to ask this question and make this statement:

“Did your kids walk out of school today as a protest like some kid’s in Charlotte did? If not, then I need to have a heart-to-heart talk with each of them. They blew a perfect opportunity to spend a beautiful day AWAY from schooling!”

Neither of them have responded, yet! They must be as baffled as I am about a crusty, hard-headed and conservative old Southern man suggesting such a thing!