Category Archives: family

Assistance, Please

I’ve been mulling what follows over for 48 hours. Arriving at no easy answer/resolution, I turn to my fellow PPPers for any thoughts, suggestions, recommendations or other input you might offer.

As many know, I reside in a townhouse situated within an apartment complex. Given the length of time here, my walks, and general interaction from sitting on the front stoop, I meet many residents. Some, I know by name. Most, I recognize. As the property manager (newly hired, relatively) said last week, most know who I am.

One of the latter is a young man I’ll refer to as W (he’s a writer). W and his spouse (“S” hereinafter) reside in a townhouse in the building to my South.I’ve not met S.

Thursday evening W knocked on my door looking to bum a cigarette. No problem there. As we were standing outside, I asked W how things were as it was apparent he wanted to talk. He responded with a not very good. He then told me that in early November, the little boy (about one year old) that I had met earlier this Fall had died suddenly. My head reeling, I made the appropriate noises and told him about my wife’s death four years ago. As we talked, it became clear that even though the boy was not W’s child (biologically), W had been very attached to him. W then mentioned he was in counseling with an appropriate individual whose name I recognized. We continued to talk, with me listening and offering such bits of learning I had to offer. During this time (about an hour), W’s cell phone rang multiple times, irking W. He finally answered, and after that conversation, he and I continued. W was quite agitated.

W acknowledged he was working through his grief, having moved recently to the anger stage. W then went on to tell me S refused to get any help, preferring to habituate various bars nightly for the purported purpose of becoming and remaining numb. Further, S had locked W’s car and taken the keys (which is why W was out of smokes). The rationale was to prevent W from potentially harming himself. I think otherwise, but whatever. Then, S calls again, and got most disturbed by the fact W was not home, but rather out talking with a neighbor. S kept getting louder and louder, finally terminating the call. W said S doesn’t like their next-door neighbor, who has been trying to help. The feeling is mutual; I’m acquainted with the neighbor (who has an adorable 15 month old daughter).

The next day, W and S’s neighbor came by. She related that there had been a terrible argument after S had returned from the bar (“shit-faced”, she called it), and S had threatened her earlier that day. After she clarified that W hadn’t been talking to her, S went ballistic and wanted to know with whom W had been talking. She didn’t know, but had a feeling it was I involved. So she could stay truthful, I neither confirmed nor denied. Her parting comment was that anyone who had been talking to W needed to be on their toes.

The question(s): If W comes back, I intend to do my best to help in any way I can. Should I refuse to so do? If S shows up shit-faced and threatening, 911 gets called by me. No further discussion on that. However, if S comes by and just wants to talk (without W) about the boy’s death, should I listen or suggest S find another outlet? If I was still practicing, the answer would be easier.

Any advice, etc., offered will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

N.B. Full disclosure: W’s mother (single) has seen me during my excursions and has bugged W about who I am. I’ve told W the bare details, and he wishes to introduce the two of us. If his mother is the woman with whom I had a conversation two months ago utside W’s front door, I’m interested.

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Filed under Ethics, family, Life Lessons

IF I WON THE LOTTERY…

It is game people play when the idea of winning the lottery comes up.  A new house or a new car, a trip to some place they had always wanted to go.

I will admit that in general my winning the lottery would be kind of a waste.  I truly do not have grand dreams or desires, other than family, friends and the neighbors.  No one would know anything had changed, no one would be driving by the house real slow saying a millionaire must live there!

But one thought that come and it is mainly this time a year.  If I had the money there would be such a Christmas for parents and children of those who can not afford gifts!

And yes it is because of a personal story:

Since moving back to Kansas life has not been all that good, low paying jobs and living just below barely getting by. More Christmas then not the two of us have not given a gift of any kind to each other.

So the kids would at least get something.

One of those Christmases, it was another year of tight money and if not for family choosing to have Christmas diner here there would not have been one for us.  The kids had only the toys we could afford and those were mainly out of the cheap bin.

When it happened, I was under the kitchen sink.  Some how it got clogged and I ended up on Christmas Eve soaking wet and squeezed under the sink taking apart the pipes.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door; I ended up crawling out to be the one answering the door.  There on the front pouch were several black plastic trash bags?  I looked all over the yard but no one was there and I did not see any cars leaving?  To make it even odder, our outside dogs that normally would bark at even leaves blowing by.  But they had never made a sound and were just ten feet away on the patio!

I opened one of the bags and there were toys inside, every bag had toys in them.  Toys suitable for each child and their age!  To this day I have no idea who it was that left those bags on the front pouch.

But if I were to win the lottery, that is what would be happening tonight for every parent who can not afford to make their children’s Christmas bright. And one that they will not be going to school and listening to all their friends bragging about getting the latest toys while they got a dollar doll or cheap plastic car.

And like those parents that Christmas Eve, suddenly the thought of there really is a Santa Clause and perhaps a better world to them that they awoke to that morning.

 

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Filed under family, memories, Original writings

PERSONAL OBSERVATION ON A PERSONAL MATTER.

 

Tobacco being an expense and not having gotten any unemployment for the last five weeks.

This morning I was reduced to digging out a relic, my dad’s pipe and a bag of tobacco.

Fortunate for me my son-in-law has better taste in pipe tobacco then dad did and the bag was left by my son-in-law.

The pipe really is a relic, twenty years ago my dad had broken his pipe and I was smoking a pipe then.

So I had given him one of mine, since I had about ten different pipes I was really into smoking a pipe!

Well this morning I load the pipe and started to light it when I noticed I was having trouble.

The bowl seemed out of line and turning away from me.

I finally took it from my mouth and looked it over, dad had done his remodel on it!

He liked straight stem and I like to have a downward bend, he had done some craving and then taped it to suit him. The problem was he was right handed and I am left handed.

Being in my right mind often sets me at the mirror image of how everyone else does things.

Left justified instead of right justified, once I moved the pipe to the other side of my mouth everything seem to line up just fine.

Does that ever happen to you, something that once belonged to a parent and it was passed down.

But it brings out a difference between you and them?

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Filed under family, Just Plain Fun, Life Lessons, memories, You know you're getting old when . . .

What do you want to be when (and if) you grow up?

(This is a photo of my great, great, great, great Grandfather Dillon Asher’s cabin, built in 1820, in Redbird, Kentucky.)

Well, someone is going to out me, probably Fnord, so I may as well out myself and save her the trouble.

Today is my fifty-eighth birthday. It is also the fortieth anniversary of the day I graduated from high School.

I was born in the front room of my grandparents farmhouse, on a wide space on a rural road in Southeastern Kentucky. There is no “there” there. About a mile away is an old stone and clapboard General Store than used to be the local mail drop. In the stone over the door is etched “Jarvis, KY, U.S. Post Office.”

The world has not been the same since I showed up.

I had a very humble start in life. The midwife was paid twenty-five dollars to deliver me. We had no running water and just had got electricity four years before. The farm was 76 acres of tobacco and we largely lived on the garden my Grandma grew and the pigs and chickens that Grandpa kept.

I never saw a doctor or dentist until I was seven years old and long gone from the farm where I was born. I wasn’t circumcised until I was eight. (Jesus Christ! You wanna do what?) When I was twelve, I ran away from home, hoping to hop a freight train back to Kentucky. It was January and I nearly frostbit my feet and had to go back.

Since then, I have often wonder what my life would have been like had I been allowed to stay with my grandparents. Would I have grown up to be the man I am today or would I have been a far different person?

Virtually everything about me today is a product of my intellect and not a reflection of my life post-adoption.

Still, should I ever grow up, what will I be?

I guess, that is a question that can never be answered.


William Stephenson Clark, a.k.a. Stevie

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Filed under family

Exactly “when” were the good old days?

“I was eight years old and running with a dime in my hand
Down to bus stop to pick up a paper for my old man
I’d sit on his lap in that big old Buick and steer as we drove through town
He’d tousle my hair and say son take a good look around
This is your hometown, this is your hometown
This is your hometown, this is your hometown”

Bruce Springsteen, 1984

(The thread photo is of the now abandoned Grande Ballroom in Detroit where I saw numerous acts including the Who, Cream, Fleetwood Mac and the MC5.)

In troubled times, such as today, many people look at the past and recall fondly the “good old days.” But, in all honesty, were the “good old days” really that good?

For many, the “good old days” were their childhoods – a simpler time when Mommy and Daddy took care of the big issues and a child was mostly concerned with school and play.

To be honest, my childhood was by far the most miserable time of my life.  At six I was torn away from the grandparents that loved me and shortly thereafter dumped at an orphanage, to eventually be adopted by “good Christian” parents that had no business having children.

I’m not asking for pity for the previous comment, just expressing a fact.

I grew up in the Fifties and Sixties with all the social upheaval that entailed, and came of age in the Seventies. I served my sentence in the corporate world and tried to be what it was thought that I should be; the middle-class manager with a house in the suburbs and the de rigueur three children and an SUV.

For me, the “good old days” begin tomorrow. As I rapidly approach sixty, I have my children and grandchildren, all relatively healthy and happy. I have my three cats and two dogs. I have my many friends and my many personal interests and hobbies.

I still have my many bad habits, but if I didn’t, I would be perfect and that is a terrible burden to bear.

When I hear those that long for the “good old days,” I have to think; just “when” were the “good old days?” The days of discrimination (which still continues) and fear-mongering (which still continues) and a lack of equality for women (which still continues)?

What was so “good” about the “good old days?”


William Stephenson Clark

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Filed under family, Life Lessons

I miss having only one pair of sneakers.

The two lives I have led came together, looking back at the music that long ago meant something to me.  And two of the tasks of today was picking up the room and doing the dishes from the weekend.

It did not help the matter when I hunted up a picture frame for a long ago picture of my wife. I had found the picture in a box while looking for something else and it also takes me back to another time.  One of those School pictures of her while we were dating, reminiscing of the style and period of the mid-seventies and her as the teenage love of my life.  She of course hates the picture saying it is ugly while to me it is an image of the most beautiful of all creation. She will surly hate to see it hanging on the wall now but to me it is the girl now the woman that caused me to Love more then I thought possible.

The picture, the music and the picking up around the house, it started me on a journey of looking at the two different lives I have lived in this lifetime.  At times seeming like they are of two different people.

While cleaning up the family room, I came across two pairs of sneakers; both pairs are mine,  One, the whenever I need to do something that is dirty or may cause harm to my footwear.  The other, the newest and a beautiful and pure white for those occasions when I need to look less like white trash.

Seldom are the newer ones worn, generally when going out in public and my wife wants me to be presentable to the world. But otherwise they are to be hidden away so as to not become dirty and scuffed.  Dirty and scuffed is the job of the old and beaten up pair which if not on my feet end-up just under the coffee table in the family room. Well within reach and always looking like they were used to wade through a swamp.

I miss the days when I only had one pair of sneakers!  When there was simply my current pair of shoes and the world just had to be happy or sad in the same pair. Continue reading

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Filed under Diversity, family, Life Lessons, Original writings

StoryCorps Illustrates the Mother/Son Bond

StoryCorps Illustrates the Mother/Son Bond

From this short video exchange between a mother and her son is a lesson for all of us, not just mothers, not just parents, but for all our interactions with other humans.  We really should spend the time to find the best in each person, or at least spend less time finding the least.

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Filed under family, Life Lessons, Thinking/Considering