Sunday, December 29, 2019

Cowboys, Indians and Good Guys

When I was six years old I wanted to be a cowboy. Well, sir, they don't have cowboys in Birmingham, Alabama. I mean not real cowboys. Embroidered roses and tight pants tucked into fancy boots. A golden palomino, a fancy guitar and a red hot girl. Man-o-man-o-mighty!

From the age of nine until, oh, about yesterday, I suppose, my ambition has roller-coasted from rock'n'roll star to juvenile delinquent to race car driver to bon vivant to environmentalist, usually coming back around to rock'n'roll star. 

Besides lacking skills, credentials and knowledge, I've had inadequate pose. I mean I feel like a phony describing myself as anything with a title.

I write but I'm no writer. I sing but I'm no singer. I love... well, let's not go there.

Finally, it dawns on me that if you act like a nice guy, you're a nice guy. All I've ever wanted to be is a nice guy. 

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Over The Hill, Way Down Underneath

We're all fragile. It shows more on some of us. The holiday season is packed with all of the joy and all of the sorrow that flows in our veins. This fire in my mind consumes most of the negative brush and leaves a fertile ground for new beginnings.

Cursed with good memory, I walk in sand, counting stars and lucky breaks.

This life suits me.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Keep 'er In The Road, Boys

Life's a racket I tell ya. A racket. You think you're playing to win. Fact is, there are no winners. I'm betting that I don't have to tell you how it ends. If I have any strategy at all, I suppose it is to assemble more good memories than bad. 

Seems that I have a bunch.

So far, so good, I guess.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Most Likely

Maybe I can keep you from making the same mistake. I got out my three high school annuals. If only I could go back and re-write every message that I left for the ones who meant so very much to me.

I'm afraid that I've got too much love and I've never properly developed the skills to share it.

Oh, well. I suppose that I got the loving part right. "Socially awkward" just means that I don't express it well. After more than half a century, I finally understand some of the messages that my friends left for me.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

New Kid In Town

You spend years working on your act. For the most part, you're not even aware that you're doing it. I wanted to be a hoodlum but I didn't want to be mean or inconsiderate. I wanted to save the world but I don't have much ambition.

Rock'n'roll was my calling. Every now and then I was fashionable, based on that old saw about a broken clock being right twice a day.

Occasionally I have told folks that I wanted to be rich. Famous. Honestly, I never cared much about either one. I have always wanted to be happy. Sometimes I am.

Before you know it you're old as dirt and you are who you were always gonna be. The life omelette is done. Me? I'm something of a shy bon vivant. An introverted show off. A heathen preacher.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Whatta' ya Mean, We, Kemosabe?

Greta Thunberg's arrival on the world's stage staves off the sadness that consumes so much of my consciousness. I struggle with the images that I have seen of the starving polar bear. It is the thought of the ones who will never be born that does me in.

We all do what we can, I suppose. Thankfully, a few like Greta come along when it seems like the game isn't just rigged, it's over.

The Franklin Grahams and the Pat Robertsons of the world have done more than diminish a beautiful tradition for me and many others. That surely doesn't mean that I don't find some measure of joy and hope when the season rolls around to celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Peace.

You don't need a religion to know that the kingdom of God belongs to the children.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Okay Boomer

Holiday season is here and I find myself putting up a few lights. Hanging a couple of stockings. I don't know what's gotten into me.

Just as I was about to get good at feeling bad-


We all grieve in our own fashion, on our own schedule. I find myself now, overwhelmed with the joy of the love that I have known. The expectation is generally that we will "grow up." Well, sir, I got taller and my voice got lower. 

Mostly, though, I remember what they tried to teach me- "they" being my mom, my grandmother, the aunts and uncles, the cousins, some of the teachers, the heroes from rock'n'roll, the philosophers, a few of the preachers, lots of strangers and the women who put up with me for as long as they could. Oh, and the animals. Don't forget all the animals.

Funny- I kept thinking I was changing.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Fear Itself

Two things on earth I'm afraid of- the devil, himself, and falling in love.

Buddy, if you don't have voices in your head, I feel sorry for you. It must get awfully lonesome. Grandma's voice reminds me to get a coat. Jamaica's reminds me to enjoy myself. Maxine makes sure that Hank Penny or Sam Cooke keep singing. 

Of course, Sam Cooke and Hank Penny are long gone. Then again, so are Lottie and Maxine and Jamaica. I hear them. Loud. Clear. Often.

Recently I read that grieving is just a form of love. The object is "gone." Makes sense to me. If all lessons are about loss and all you need is love, my story almost makes sense.

Love hard and love shamelessly.