Hell of a Guy
No legacy is so rich as honesty - William Shakespeare

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Guests at the Farm

09/26/2007

Back in August The Nancy and I had guests at our humble abode.  The Nancy’s aunts, Sara and Connie, and Sara’s husband John spent two nights with us.

We welcome any chance to have company and to entertain them on the Farm.  Mostly we like to show it off.  Not that the house is anything special; it is, after all, a work in progress…very slow progress.  The magic of the place is simply the benign, transformation everyone seems to undergo when they visit.  There is almost an instant peacefulness that overtakes anyone who spends time at the Millennium Farm…it begins as soon as they turn off the hard-surface road onto the half-mile gravel drive to our house.  It is truly magical.  This time was no different.

The Nancy has almost as many aunts and uncles still living as I ever had.  These days I have but one left (and that’s another story for another day).  The Nancy’s favorite aunt, and this is me talking, is, hands down, her Aunt Connie.  Aunt Connie is the kind of aunt we all would love to have had.  Headstrong and adventurous and chocked full of stories, Aunt Connie left home at the tender age of eighteen and wondered off to the far reaches of the southwestern United States and a fairytale life as the wife of a career Air Force fighter pilot. 

Aunt Sara and Uncle John came in from their longtime home in Texas.  Sara is The Nancy’s youngest aunt, and not too much older than The Nancy, maybe six years or so.  Both she and her husband are younger than me, but I still get to call them Uncle John and Aunt Sara, and you can bet your bottom I love that.

The three of them split their visit with us.  They were at our house on a Friday evening, spent that Saturday in the Washington , DC area and came back to spend Sunday night at the Farm and visit with us, once again.

The really neat part of having these wonderful people share our little slice of heaven was watching how my wife interacted with them.  The Nancy eyes were wide with wonderment as she and her aunts and uncle recounted their histories and that of the family.  I was simply ecstatic as the three of them explored their genealogy – both present and past.  The Nancy was taking it all in; her big smile indicated her enjoyment of the moment as Aunt Connie and Aunt Sara shared lots of neat stuff.  It was equally as neat to watch her as she learned of family rascals and previously unshared family secrets, and she was admonished to never breathe a word of anything she heard.  We now call her our own “Sgt. Schultz.”  She knows nothing!  What happens in Beautiful Downtown Berkeley Springs stays in Beautiful Downtown Berkeley Springs – that’s our motto.

Aunt Connie reminds me of my Aunt Mary, both in her mannerisms and her throw-caution-to-the-wind, my-way-or-not-at-all, carefree view of this journey we call life.  My Aunt Mary passed away a few years ago and I really miss her wit and wisdom.  Now I get to have a new Aunt Mary in Connie.  I am feeling pretty lucky these days.

And that is all I have to say about that… 

 
Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Football - Thumbs Down…

09/18/2007

After this one I will probably lose a few of the guys that read my blog.  I know I should not do this, but I feel compelled to tell the Truth.  The truth will set you free, right?  Okay, the truth is, I am already tired of football.  Two weeks into the season, I have seen enough.

The Nancy is a huge West Virginia University fan.  She should be.  She is a WV native, and attended WVU for a couple of years.  I am a huge WVU tailgate party fan.  I love to see them win, but don’t necessarily need to watch every play of every game, or every play of any game.  That statement, once read by my bride of the decade, will get me in a little hot water.  What I have said is a sacrilege, a blasphemy – I should be drawn and quartered.  Not love football?  What the hell is up with that?  What kind of man am I?

Nothing makes me wonder more about the sanity and mental health of some people then to see some goofball spectators at a football game shirtless and completely covered in makeup of the same colors of their special team.  How about those whackos who dress up in costumes?  You’ve seen them: Indians and guys with pig snouts in Washington, or Cheese Heads in Green Bay, or the real nut cases in Oakland where they dress like bad asses out of some thriller movie – kind of like macabre bikers and such.  Double what the hell is up with that?  These people cannot be right in the head, and you see this stuff at all levels of the sport.  Maybe it’s me, but I just don’t get it.

So here we are a mere two weeks into the season and I have had enough.  Football overload is already here.  My choices are very limited inasmuch as The Nancy, the world’s biggest football nut, lives in with me.  This time of the year Saturdays and Sundays at our humble adobe are all about football.  It doesn’t matter what teams are playing, just as long as they are playing.  The Nancy can watch three, four games on a Saturday, and does.

This past Saturday while The Nancy was working, I got to sit in my favorite chair in my favorite room and listen to my soothing New Age music and stare out the window and enjoy my world - Nirvana.  After The Nancy got home, we ate our dinner and a little while later the TV came on and we got to enjoy USC beat up on Nebraska.  Whoopee!  It was nice to watch for a quarter or two, but at halftime I had had enough.  I went to bed.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy an occasional game.  I really do.  I just don’t enjoy every game.  I need to be connected to it to enjoy it.  We had the Ravens versus the New York Jets game on Sunday.  The Nancy was not watching it, nor was I.  She was busy with the Washington Post crossword, but I dare not attempt to change the channel.  My life is worth more to me than that.  Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned…or something along those lines.

And that is all I have to say about that… 

 
Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Gorgeous Almost Fall Morning…

09/16/2007

Here I sit in my favorite chair in my favorite room in this big old house.  Seems to me I have jotted down a couple of these little stories sitting in this exact same spot with this damn contraption neatly situated in my ever growing abdominal region.  I suppose I do some of my best thinking when my butt is planted in this location. 

It is a gorgeous morning here in West Virginia with a very clear blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds and streaked with an occasional jet contrail.  The little thermometer on my front porch indicated a crisp forty-eight degrees a little earlier this morning.  From this vantage point I get to gaze outside through one of three picture windows in this room - one faces south, one west and one north.  Each view to me is breathtaking.  I love this place. 

Just about six weeks ago our lawn, almost three acres of grass, was totally brown and devoid of any measurable growth.  Today, everything is brilliantly verdant – the lawn and the trees, even the undergrowth in the woods is showing many hues of green.  Cacapon Mountain, to our west, was typically shrouded in a summer haze most of June and July and part of August.  Today there is no haze and nothing to obscure a clearly defined view of the ridge.  God is a showing off today.  I needed a day such as this.

A week ago this past Thursday I had a little surgery.  Last Friday and up until this Friday I felt really good considering some guy cut into my belly and sewed it back together. Yesterday and this morning I have not felt so great, and I cannot put my finger on it.  The area around the incision is very tender and I am dealing with a bit of nausea plus some indigestion and an ever so slight pain just to the right of my navel.  Like most humans, my immediate thought is that something is wrong, and I wonder why I feel this way, mainly because I had myself going back to work this week feeling tip-top, very much at the top of my game.  I am not prone to self pity, my glass is always full.  Hell, I’m the guy who enjoys a cold and a headache, mainly because I so rarely get them.  I guess I just didn’t think I should feel this way a week after the surgery, so this is new ground for me.  It is time to make a shift and this is how it is done.

It is a beautiful West Virginia morning.  The sky is clear, the sun is bright, the world is good and so am I.  I thank God for this day and for my opportunity to enjoy it.  In between that last sentence and this one, I took a walk outside…up and around the barn and back to the house solely to bathe in the glory of this day: I took deep breaths and smelled the crisp pre-fall air.  My pain is nearly gone now, the nausea nothing more than a signal for me to get up and do something constructive.  I am a lucky guy.  So, here I am writing this boring little story of a gorgeous day in the Mountain State and the shift I made on this magnificent day.  Not bad, eh? I am such a lucky guy.

And that is all I have to say about that…   

 
Wednesday, September 12, 2007

When I Was Forty-five - A Not So Good Year

09/12/2007

1989 was a great year, but this is no time for a nostalgic trip…so I’ll take one, anyway!

I was in New York City working with my boss and making sales calls on the Purchasing Bureau of the New York City Board of Education.  I sell school furniture, along with a host of other institutional furniture products to other markets.  Basically, the first four words of the last sentence define what I really do; the last twelve words is what my company wants me to do along with the first part, but the truth is…  The truth will set you free.

It had been a long day.  I was worn out from doing my utmost to impress people with the fact that I knew what I was doing, even though they looked as if they were not impressed, nor thought I had any idea of what I knew what I was doing.  My boss and I checked into the Marriott Hotel near LaGuardia Airport.  I walked into my room, chucked my bag on the bed and took off my suit jacket.  As I swung my jacket onto the bed, I caught sight of my full profile in the mirror that hung on the wall next to the TV.  I was forty-five years old, but the reflection in the mirror was of the abused body of someone much older.  Blubber was hanging over my belt all the way around.  At that moment the curtain when up on a realization and I began my mid-life crisis, something had to be done.  I was in my mid-forties.  My hair was thinning on an almost daily basis.  I was wearing a size 46 suit with a waistline of forty inches.  I was repugnant.  I made me ill.

So, what does one do when one is fed up with the way one looks and the way one feels?  I was at the bottom and had landed with a thud.  Sure, I noticed many times how badly I looked and how nothing I wore looked good on me, but this was the first time I took a good hard look.  This was my measure of myself.  I began a diet-exercise program the very next week.  I got into shape – obsessively.

Within eight months I had trimmed over fifty-five pounds from my body.  I could do more than fifty pushups. I could do one hundred sit ups. I could jog for over an hour and be hardly winded.  My waistline dropped to a scant thirty-six inches.  Suits and jackets dropped to size 42.  I was in shape, and my mid-life crisis was in full swing, and I didn’t have a clue.

Well, these days my mid-life is behind me by many years.  In my last post I wrote about aging and changes within.  Last night I caught sight of my profile.  I am sixty-three.  My waistline is 40 inches.  My new suit shows the size as forty-six.  The number of hairs on my head equals the number growing in my ears.  I am sitting in my family room out here on The Farm, happy as hell and wondering if I really give a hoot about a couple of inches in my middle.  I can still do a pushup, but the sit up makes my back hurt.  And, as for jogging, screw it.  Life is good.

And that is all I have to say about that…     

 
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