Bound For Glory

 

 

My telephone rings, in the receiver I hear, “This article your wrote?”

 

“Yes?” I reply

 

“Well, it kind of sucked.”

The voice on the other end says  back to me.

 

So I said, “Didn’t like it huh? 

You want me to put you down on the negative side, that your vote?”

 

A little pause, and then a chuckle, “No.  Put me down on that side TWICE!”

 

 

My Lil Brother John ….. One of the great things about friends, or friendship, is that they (friends, close friends) can tell you things in a way where you understand and you do not take exception to it.  They can, because they are special, step over the line and rub you the wrong way, but you take it, because they are your peculiar treasure in life. A cut above the crowd. 

 

They like you for who you are, warts and all, and that gives them what I call “Special License” and often, I let him slide.  If it came from someone else I would “nail their hide to the barn door” but because it came from John, I always gave him a pass.

 

4:35 a.m. end of the week, it has been a long, long row to hoe.  My friend has been laid to rest and this is the first week of my life without him, unmistakably, it has been hard.  Life can be a cruel taskmaster at times, and I have certainly learned a lesson or two this past seven days. 

 

Albeit, lessons that I would have preferred to have skipped, but was called to attend.

 

His son called me the day before the memorial service and told me that he was going to read the post Goodbye To My Friend John at his internment.  I could not be there (a distance of 1122 miles to his home in Arizona and the time factor coming into play) so it was a comfort to me that something was said to John and it came from me. 

 

I had my part in it, and I got to say, what it is that I wanted to say.  Somehow, I know this is going to sound strange, but I just know that John heard every word.  Ironically it was somewhat appropriate; it was a piece written by a railroader, for a railroader, and presented to his friends, by his son Sam, railroaders all. 

 

From all indications it was well received and it was a fitting send off to a very special person.  Most importantly, above all,  God was there, I know that too. 

 

 

On that day, this website had the highest amount of hits that it ever experienced, over 400 hits in one twenty-four hour period.  From the reading of the article at the service at 930 a.m.to 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon, and then on to the next morning.  Cumulating in a total of 423 in one twenty-four hour period, an amazing amount of visitors and I am completely blown away by it.

 

I cannot explain it any other way; it has to be a God thing and nothing more.  To me, a person who eats, sleeps, breathes with this thing 24/7 it is just short of phenomenal and no other explanation can explain it.

 

Thank you to all of you who responded to me during this time and I want to thank you for your encouraging words, the kindness that you extended to me during this period, has not gone un-noticed.

 

The comments section has been cleared and posted, I chose to not answer any one comment specifically at this time, for obvious reasons.  We will just pick up the ball and start running from here, suit up for another game, and get back to living life the best way we can. 

 

“And yes, some of it is going to suck so git reedy as John would say.”

 

I am truly grateful for all the time that God allowed me to share with this man, John Thomas Wright, and I shall for the remainder of my life, hold in my heart, a special place reserved just for him.

 

One more time, thanks for the kind words, the patience, you guys are the salt of the earth.  I appreciate you.  Time has a way of healing the heart, and as the Bible says, “This too shall pass.”  My friend is Bound For Glory and I know I am gonna miss him, but it will be alright.  It won’t be easy, but it will heal with time.

 

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My Dad …

I fondly recall a time, a long time ago, when as a child, my father drove all the way from California to Guthrie, Oklahoma to surprise his father on Father’s Day.  A distance of some 1,600 miles and about three days. I remember how my father’s face lit up, when he looked at that old man (my grandfather) and said, “No really, did I surprise you?  I really wanted this to be a surprise.”  

It was so important to him at the time.  An object lesson in love, how he always strived for their love, but in the end, got so little of it in return.

If I remember it right, it was a trip by means of U.S. #50, “The Loneliest Highway In America,” and across Kansas that trip.  We came back every two years, and we always came a different way, if it were possible.  In order to visit different locales, and see different things. 

Pulling into sleepy little Gunnison, Colorado early in the morning, and Mom commenting, “Lord, look at the price of that gas!” (which at the time was about 21 cents per gallon)  Driving down to the end of a dusty road out on the prairie to see “The World’s Largest Prairie Dog” (which was made out of concrete). 

The land of To-To and Dorothy, the Kingdom of Oz and the Yellow Brick Road. Old Dodge City and the fragrant feedlots of the plains.  Rivers that ran as red as the sun, mile after mile of nothing but wheat, no trees.

I remember watching out the window, the thunderstorms on the plains, and how fascinating they were, as we did not have thunderstorms in our particular area of Northern California.  The awesome beauty of them, and the awe that they carried along with them, the power, the majesty, the wonder of it all.  Now some fifty years later, I am somewhat jaded, and very used to them.  Strangely I am still not comfortable with these storms but they still hold wonder for me.

My Dad, showed all these things to me when I was a kid. 

Your father is the guy that will give you the watch for a present after the race, and you will say, “But Dad, I didn’t win the race.”  And he will smile and say, “it is not for winning son, it is for trying.”  No playbook available for being a Dad, you just shoot it from the hip.  When I was young I used to believe that my Dad was Superman, but then I grew up and realized that he just wore the cape.  He passes on the wisdom of the sage, which in my case was “Use your head for something b’sides a hat rack!”

Your Ol’ man is the guy that had to get up and milk 25 head of cows before breakfast, in order to get an allowance of .25 cents per week.  Who walked five miles to school, uphill, both ways, in snow five feet deep and he was only four feet tall.  I remember when I quit smoking, I called my Dad and said, “Hey Dad, I quit smoking!” he said, “That is great son.”  My mom called me a quitter.

I remember one time, we took him out on a freight train, as he was a great train lover.  We put him behind the controls of that locomotive, little old short train, not very heavy, not much to keep track of.  My brother in law told me later, that my Dad “talked about running that train for years afterward” and each time it got heavier, and heavier, an a whole lot longer. 

That was my Dad. 

Dad is gone now, been gone 10-12 years, I have lost track, but I still miss him.  I keep a picture of him right here on my desk and every day I glance down at it and I remember.  I see him in my minds eye, standing in the airport in Oakland, California, huggin me before I went to boot camp and eventually to the ‘Nam.  A 17 year old wide-eyed vagabond soul who toured the world for some three and one-half years before coming home, a tatooe’d seasoned veteran.

I see him washing and polishing his old Merc’ and shining up the chrome.  Laying on the bed in the bedroom, watching “Wheel Of Fortune” and yelling out to no one in particular, The Green Grass Of Home …. I knew that! 

Shaking his head from side to side and muttering  .. That dumb kid.

Losing Dad early has not helped matters all that much.  I don’t have a “sounding board” to find out what is going on.  He went before me, and I expected at this stage in life, I would have someone I could call and ask questions of concerning how it is I feel, what I believe my tired old frame is doing these days.  Why don’t I have any strength left. 

Find out if it is age or if it is the diabetes. 

But he is not here, he has gone on, and I have to stumble blindly thru life, trying to make sense of it all.  And believe me on some days, it can be a real head scratcher for me.

We were out in ‘Vegas once, and I got a little lucky, had some extra change in my pocket, so I looked at my Old Man, and I said, “Here, I am kind of flush, doing alright, I want you to have this $50.  You did a lot for me when I was a kid, and I want you to have it.” and then I handed the bill to him.  “Take it Dad, and buy something with it that will make your life a little bit more comfortable, a little better.” 

I suppose he bought my mom something with it.  That’s just the kind of guy he was … My Dad.

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Fathers Day

 

 

The singer will tell you “that we will be together always” but it isn’t always so.  If your Father is alive and is well, thank your many blessings in life, and reach out to him this day.  He will not always be here for you and there will come a day, when you will miss him so, and there will no longer be time to say so.

I always think of the Harry Chapin Song, “Cat’s In The Cradle” on this day, it just seems appropriate.

One Sunday in May 1910, Sonora Smart Dodd was sitting in church in Spokane, Washington, listening to a sermon about the merits of mothers.  Sonora wondered why she had never heard any sermons about Dads. 

Her own father, a widower named William Smart, had raised six children all alone.

Believing dads should have their day. 

Dodd proposed setting aside a Sunday in June to honor fathers.  The very first father’s day was celebrated in Spokane on June 19, 1910 when Dodd rode down Main Street in a horse-drawn carriage and delivered gifts to fathers all over town.

Unlike Mother’s Day, however, Father’s Day remained unofficial until 1972, when President Richard M Nixon finally proclaimed it a national holiday.

If you cannot be there personally this day, pick up the telephone and give him a ring, I am sure he would appreciate it.

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