Thursday, June 29, 2006


A lot of you will find this hard to believe, but I was pretty sexually involved way back in the second and third grades – it’s true! Now, please note I said involved – I did not say knowledgeable or accomplished!

I was blessed to live in a 1950’s neighborhood full of Beavers (not related to the story), Walleys, Wards, and Junes. They visited each other on the weekends and played cards, made ice cream, and watched “Gorgeous George” wrestling on little 9” black & white TV screens. However, they didn’t sit in living rooms and watch TV, they usually turned the TVs around to the screened window and watched from their metal lawn chairs, you know the ones with the scalloped backs, while the kids either sat on top of the hand cranked ice cream maker, ate the salty ice from under the towel that lay on top of the crank, or just ran around chasing fire-flies. But mostly, they laughed and laughed.

During the week the Cleaver families hung over fences and talked and sometimes even yelled at each other about what their kid had done to theirs. I’ve even seen red hair flying from time-to-time, but after a few weeks they were back talking over the fence or inviting each other over for a Rook game. They didn’t seem to hold grudges long then, and I think it was because they were closer and knew each other better and understood and forgave mistakes like brothers and sisters.

I was also blessed that I was the only boy in a neighborhood full of girls. The only boy to fill the role of husband when a wild game of “house” broke out! The girls would set up the table and chairs and plates and other girly things while I filled the role of bread winner by plucking seed pods from locus trees, wild onion shoots, and the little balls from sweet gum trees - anything that resembled food.

I also was a part-time cowboy and often had to fend off Indians when they imaginarily attacked my happy household. I would ride off on long hunts around the yard or even neighborhood and was always welcomed home by my loving play wife.

Things were pretty good, but all the while, unbeknownst to me, my mother watched me play with the girls and sip imaginary coffee and tea and pretended to chomp on bean pods, and worried. She wondered what effect this would have on me later in life, shucks, I even held a doll on occasion when it got out of control!

The real blessing I was enjoying went unseen by Mom. The girls liked to play doctor and liked the kind where the patient was completely naked. They were curious little devils and I didn’t mind – not at all – besides, it felt strangely good to be examined…down there!

At this point you should be humming:
Out past the cornfields where the woods got heavy
Out in the back seat of my '60 Chevy (well, this didn’t apply)
Workin' on mysteries without any clues
Workin' on our night moves (thanks Bob)

We were working on mysteries and didn’t have a clue, but it felt good and there was really no actual sex involved – just perfecting our “night moves” for the future. You know, checking out the equipment and getting it ready for action, whatever that meant!

Usually playing doctor was one-on-one, but mind you, there were at least 5 girls that made demands on my “play doctor” calendar. Therefore, I was booked most weeks in basements, old abandoned dog houses (some really large dog houses in that old neighborhood), and yes, an occasional cornfield out where the woods got heavy. I was having a ball (especially the girls – no pun intended)!

However, all good things must come to an end – Mom decided I needed to learn to play with boys (Yuck!). So, she sent me across the field behind the house to the neighboring subdivision to play with a boy my age.

It was quite fun, we played cowboys and Indians, and best of all Army! His dad had built him a wooden Jeep, replete with stirring wheel and windshield in his backyard. We played for hours on that old crate and only on occasion did I miss playing doctor.

It’s a good thing I never brought the subject up too, because my little playmate decided he was GAY later in life and I never told anyone (until now – some 52 years later) that I used to “play with him” – ARMY, that is!

And now, my Mom will know just how close she came to putting my sexuality in jeopardy. But, I think, had anything like that come up I would have had the presence of mind to say “BUT MOMMA, I’D RATHER PLAY DOCTOR!”

Tuesday, June 27, 2006



In our children we live on and on…

The seed is the hope for everything that lives
Planted to become the second chance for all
We each live out our cycle the best we can
Then bloom again to taste life anew

Like the tree that grows to maturity
Then drops a part of itself to the ground
Locked inside is all its hopes for tomorrow
With the dreams of yesterday continuing on

So live my little one
Live on for me
Live each day
Feel it all
Miss nothing
We aren’t promised tomorrow except
In the life we pass on to one such as you
Live and let live
Grow old gracefully with the knowledge
That you’ll live again in one such as you

Thursday, June 22, 2006


DISCLAIMER: This will not become a movie review blog! God knows we have enough of them.

Well, my wife and I saw the Da Vinci Code this afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed it as a “film”. Neither our religion nor our faiths were threatened by the fictional premise presented by Dan Brown. Even if Jesus was married, it would not remove what we believe he did for us from our faith. If you have been afraid to see the movie, fearing it would somehow change you – it will not – unless you believe the fiction to be truth.

Sit back and enjoy the mystery riddled treasure hunt and all the action it involves. After all, as Dr. Robert Langdon says in the movie “Why is it divine or human? Can't human be divine?”

The real thought I want to leave you with is THINK FOR YOURSELF!

The next time you want to do some thought provoking reading, why not look into some of the books/gospels that were not chosen to be included in today’s religious canons - for example, the book of Enoch, the Gospel of Mary (Magdalene), or the “Infancy Gospel of Thomas” that opens with a story about five-year-old Jesus making twelve sparrows out of mud. He claps his hands; they come to life and fly away, to name just three. Did these things really happen? Should we accept them on faith as easily as the canonized books?

There are many more books to choose from than you might think! Did you know there are 11 additional books in the Catholic bible (the Apocrypha) – what information do they hold?

There are other writings called the Gnostic Gospels that may hold more insight into the heavenly realm(s), Jesus’ life and personality, the “end time” prophecy, the birth of Mary, etc.

I think a broader look at the whole subject is in order to provide the deepest understanding of individual faith. Don’t just accept what has always been feed to you as the truth – prove it! Why are you a Baptist or a Catholic? Why are you a democrat or republican? Do you even know what truths these thoughts are based on? Never stop searching for the truth.

Now, my final rant on the subject of movies! Why do I have to set through television commercials in a movie theater for God’s sake? There were at least 3 TV commercials promoting upcoming “made for TV movies”! I go to the movie to get away from commercials, especially TV commercials. Whose idea was this? I suppose that’s what America gets for allowing networks and movie companies to buy each other!

Sunday, June 18, 2006


This spring marks the beginning of my new life. I retired in September (2005) and since then I have tried to stay active, in part, by hiking. I’m up to about 7 miles a trip, but have paid the price in aches, pains, and blisters. I could and may do more, if there is something of special interest at the end of the trail, but for now a good roundtrip hike is ideally around 5 miles.

Spring has matched my new lease on life by showing me its bounty of beautiful and varied wildflowers; signifying a new fresh start. The bounty has been especially good this year in the East Tennessee Mountains due to a wet late winter and early spring – really lush new green growth with contrasting vibrant colors.

I know that it’s up to me what I make of this retirement and, as of now; I am resolved to pushing through the oncoming pains of getting older to really enjoying myself. I have no desire, and for now, no need to ever work again. There is just so much out there to enjoy, and the least of them is hiking. I know of no other endeavor that offers you such peace as walking along quiet shaded little paths and feeling, as well as, seeing what God hath made – made personally for me to enjoy.

Oh, I know millions have probably walked the same paths before me, but have they really communed with it – smelled it – touched it? To me, as I walk along, it was just made the moment just before my eyes see it; just materializing around the next bend in the trail, and it’s all fresh and new and a gift made, with a personal touch, just for me.

I know it’s silly, but I often happen upon a little bird sitting on a nearby limb that seems to watch me and expect me to notice – to say hello. To me it’s God, in a form I’m not afraid of, waiting for me to thank. “Thank you God – thank you for what you hath made for me.”

Friday, June 09, 2006


There is that day that occurs at the end of each summer, when a cool breeze slices the summer heat sending a slow crawling chill over your flesh, and pushes a painted leaf cheerfully rattling across your path. It is the unmistakable omen of the pending changes to come. It is a day that reminds me once a year of things that I could have changed but didn’t and things I did change but shouldn’t have. (Huh...maybe I'll use this opening paragraph in my next book.)

Regardless of the changes made or not, the fall of life is upon me. Sixty years now, where’d they go (to quote a Bob Seger song)?

Twenty years now
Where’d they go?
Twenty years
I don’t know
Sit and I wonder sometimes
Where they’ve gone
And sometimes late at night
When I’m bathed in the firelight
The moon comes callin’ a ghostly white
And I recall

I know quite well where they went; I just didn’t take note of their passing as closely as I should have. Oh, as a child I held on to summer bliss as hard as I could trying to hold back the inevitable day school would begin again, but all the while longing to be grown up and own a fast car and have a nice girl.

I spent my adolescence wishing school would end so I could own a fast car so I could have a beautiful girl; never noticing that some of the greatest days of my life were “slip sliding away”.

I passed my early manhood and the prime of my health wishing my time in the Air Force and in Vietnam would end so I could own a fast car and get a beautiful girl. I never realized the historical significance of the experience until twenty years later. I took few significant photos and even fewer names. It was an experience of a life time; one you would never want to do again but one you would not trade for brand new fast car.

I spent my twenties playing house and wishing I had made other choices; wishing I had bought the Shelby instead of the plain 302 automatic, the 396 instead of the 350, the Hurst instead of the plain 442, asking someone to marry me instead of accepting an offer.

Nonetheless, I have arrived where I am through more divine intervention than personal judgment. If things had been left to me, I’d probably be living in some rundown trailer park with a fat old “used to be” blonde with no ambition, and no hopes of ever retiring.

I sit and wonder sometime about what would have been had just one decision in life had been different.

What if had married that little blonde that adored me and that I treated like dirt? There would have been no higher education, no higher ambition, but who really knows, maybe I would have still had the fastest old primered hot-rod with four of the slickest tires in the park!

More than anything I wanted to get a job in “big time” advertising in Atlanta. Once I was intrigued by Doyle Dane Bernbach, on a field trip sponsored by the College of Communications at the University of Tennessee. It was 1972, just prior to graduation, and DDB had the Coca-Cola account and was running at the top of the AD game after hitting the country with the '60s Coke anthem: "I'd like to teach the world to sing/in perfect harmony . . . “! A group of us on mock interviews visited the brain trust hard at work in a large open room on the second floor of a downtown Atlanta building. They were just young kids, really, not much older than me at the time. I envied them and the freedom of creation they seemed to have. Their work seemed to consist of sitting around playing with little things colored Coke red and white waiting for the next big idea to be born.

What if I had been free to pursue a job like that in “the big time”? I say free, because my wife at the time would not hear of leaving her family and moving to a “big” town, and maybe down deep inside I didn’t want to leave either. After all, I had just returned from Vietnam where I vowed never to leave home again.

Truthfully, I’d probably have been a workaholic (or something that ended in “aholic”) with more than 3 broken marriages and children from all 3 that never got to see their father. I would have loved the big time, even worshiped it, and there’s probably a Clio ( or two that would have almost been mine, but I’ll never know and divine intervention probably saved a lot of people heartache; and particularly me.

In my heart-of-hearts I know it would not have been the best move for me. I heard the horror stories of accounts lost and accounts swapped and how advertising folks moved from agency to agency following the accounts. I would probably have been miserable and insecure if I’m really honest with myself. However, I would have had the fastest car in the parking garage!

So, anyway, like I said, I have arrived at 60 having been married to 3 pretty gals, got 2 beautiful granddaughters, 1 pretty daughter, 1 handsome son, and having had at least 6 fast cars (including 3 Mustangs, a 442, and a Trans Am). So, I know where the years went “And I recall”, and it’s been a ball. I’ve had it all and it ain’t over yet – actually, I am contemplating another fast car soon! After all, like the blog title says, I AM A CHILD OF THE SIXTIES!