Slow and Steady

Showed up at my house late 2020. I took it to be a sign, a good omen.

I opened my front door just in time to see the tortoise cross my path. I took it to be a sign, a good omen.

I said, “Hey, thanks for clearing trouble from my yard.”

My visitor was too busy slow walking across concrete to return my greeting or, for that matter, acknowledge me at all.

I didn’t care. I understood. The shelled reptile’s good deed had nothing to do with me, not really.

The tortoise would do the same for Donald Trump or Joe Biden or Oprah or LeBron James or the Cat on the Corner with the Cardboard Sign saying, “Homeless…Will Work For…”

Tortoise soup?

“God, no. No,” I said, then shouted to my messenger, “Steer clear of anyone or anything looking at you with hungry eyes. The good omen vibes you sent me, I’m sending them right back to you. Please, please, don’t let anyone cut short your righteous path.”

I stood for over an hour watching my talisman cross the yard. It left a trail of four leaf clovers.

When Joey, my grandson, was eight years old, he told me, “I’ve changed my name to ‘Turtle.'”

I said, “Cool.”

Then he said, “I used to call you ‘Hippopotamus’ but I’m changing it to ‘Tortoise.'”

“Okay.”

“You know why?”

“Why?”

Joey took a deep breath and said, “I’ve changed your name to ‘Tortoise’ coz you’re so slow and, mostly steady, you’re gonna win the race.”

“What race?”

“Every race.”

“Cool.”

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I Woke Up Late This Morning

The garbage truck woke me up. “Jesus,” I whispered. “I hope I’m not too late to roll my recycle can to the curb.”

I still don’t know coz I had to feed the dogs then check my cell for midnight messages.

There were none.

Then I had to write a couple of 9am notes to myself, reminders to get cans to the street the night before the trucks are scheduled to roll in, stop, pick up waste and roll out.

That way, when I hear the rumbling engine and squealing brakes, I won’t have to wonder if I missed trash pick up.

I won’t have to feel guilty about sleeping in.

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The I Don’t Care Blues

https://link.medium.com/G5HylCD28db

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Big Tree

Oh, I am a big tree. Bigger than the pine.

I dwarf the giant redwood up on the North California borderline.

I have a hundred million branches. A billion leaves and twigs between.

I don’t know how deep my roots go. I just know most of them can’t be seen.

Every morning come the folks and they try to chop me down.

I laugh like they’re tellin funny jokes and say, “If you want, you can stick around.

And if you’d like, you can climb inside me. Curl up and take your rest.

Listen to the bird song sing beside me as they gather stuff to make their nest.

And when you’re ready, you can stand, spread your wings and fly away.

Glide to earth or soar to heaven. It’s up to you, whatever you say.

Coz, I am a big tree growing big tree true.

And it’s my big tree nature not to tell you what to do.”

Yeah, I am a big tree. Bigger than the pine.

I dwarf the giant redwood up on the North California borderline.

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I Watched This Movie On Netflix Last Night

I thought I was going to like it.

I didn’t.

Filed under “dark comedy,” it was “hailed” by some bi-line hack to be “wickedly funny.”

It was “wicked” in that it was “evil in thought and life,” but it wasn’t funny.

I might’ve got one mean chuckle from the shiny tale of chik grifters playing the system and ruining lives.

And it did make me sympathetic to the plight of Russian mafioso in the USA.

I guess that’s worth an afterthought laugh or two.

The final scene was as predictable as it was contrived.

Y’know the one where the most evil non-Russian receives comeuppance?

Yeah, everyone does.

I’m not going to name the film because I don’t recommend anyone watch it. I did say it was on Netflix and Russian mobsters were part of the plot.

It would be easy to find it on your own…if you want…

Maybe you’ll like it. A lot of folks do.

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Storage Unit 88

I was late paying Storage Unit 88 rent this month. First time in a while.

That means an extra 20 bucks tagged on to what I owe. I don’t like it but I have nowhere else to keep my stuff.

No where else to keep the old, Auto-Piano upright passed on to me by my mother. I taught myself how to play music on that instrument.

Over 50 years ago, the Old Man bought it from a barroom buddy going through a divorce. I still remember Dad and his crew of drunken volunteers banging it up 3 steps and rolling it into the living room.

I skipped school the next day just to sit in front of the instrument. I don’t think I played a note on the keyboard. I just sat there, in a trance, thanking God for giving me such a gift.

The first song I taught myself to play was the Fats Domino version of “Blueberry Hill.” I had the 45 and my folks had a small, portable record player.

When I was alone and able to practice, I’d play the record and try to copy what I heard. I broke the tune down, note by note, measure by measure.

It was slow going.

In fact, I don’t know how long it took me to learn the entire song. Maybe a month, maybe two, probably longer but, eventually, I learned to play and sing that classic New Orleans tune in the classic New Orleans R&B style made famous by the Fat Man himself.

When I lost my house, my sister let me put the upright in her storage space.

Five years later, I came into a little cash and was able to rent unit #88. A couple of months after that, “Otto” Piano moved in.

Now, I can see and play it every day.

Unless, of course, I’m past due on the rent.

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Thoughts Upon Awakening

I must’ve been dreaming about my 70th birthday party.

I woke up thinking it was today.

But it’s not today. Today is February 9, 2021.

February 9 is not my birthday.

I was born November 2, 1951.

I still have 10 months and 3 weeks left to go…

Dreams are weird, sometimes. And, every once in a while, I wake before the dream is over…like this morning.

I woke thinking I was 70 years old today…

Let’s get this party started.

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Thoughts Before Sleep

The spaces between the times I post here are getting shorter. I have been gone for almost a year and it’s sputtering, my attempt to get back into WordPress shape.

There was a time when I posted here daily.

Personal stuff.

Mostly stories about my grandson and me.

I love that boy. Always have. Always will.

But, now, he’s sixteen years old, 6ft. 4 maybe 5 inches tall and he does what he wants, as he pleases.

That means I don’t see him much anymore. Last time was September.

But it’s okay. I knew it was coming.

And, even though I knew I was going to fail, I tried to stop it.

And that’s okay, too.

Coz that’s what old fools do…

coz we’ve got to…

even if it’s wrong…

or else we’ll die…

right here…

right now.

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I Was Saving It For You

My uncle Nick wanted a guitar. He said, “I used to play years ago. Not very well, but I liked messin around with it.”

Then he told me about a cheap acoustic he saw at Goodwill. He said, “It’s blue and less than 20 bucks. Maybe you can check it out for me.”

Next day, I went to the thrift store, found the git box. It was cheap, very blue and I had the money in my pocket…

I took it to the cashier. She said, “That’ll be 21 dollars and 70 cents.”

I dug deep and forked over 2 ten dollar bills. I coughed and said, “I have the rest out in the car.”

The cashier didn’t say a word though it seemed like she was wanting to scream.

That’s when the elderly woman in line behind me said, “I’ll make up the difference.”

I said, “Thanks, so much, for the financial aid.” And, when the transaction was complete, I walked out of the store with my uncle’s guitar.

Nick appreciated the gift. I told him it needed new strings but, otherwise, I thought it was fine.

Turns out I was wrong. Even with new strings, it was virtually unplayable. I should’ve been more thorough with my inspection but I was too busy wanting to purchase and deliver the musical treasure.

When I told my uncle the bad news, he said, “Oh, well, I’ll play guitar one day, just not today. And I know from experience, Goodwill will refund your money…long as you have your receipt.”

I lied and said, ” I’ve got it in the car.”

I know my deceit was unnecessary but I didn’t feel like going into the whole, feel good, pay it forward story with a twist with him right then because…

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Mood Music

I wrote a song today.

I write a song every day.

But this song was about the color gray

And it was all right.

It kind of shuffled along, a mellow kind of song. Open spaces filled with air and tempered light.

Whatever that means, I’d like to paint the scene and call it “The Blues are Gray in Black and White.”

It was cold last night.

But not as cold as the night before

Seemed like the chill was sucking up the heat.

Tried to hide my guilt under 3 blankets and a quilt

But the covers didn’t reach my feet.

Got frostbite in my toes. Below zero blows

Big chunks melting in the heat.

I’m gonna put the last verse in clumps. Gonna hope the image bumps your brain into a no holds barred imaginary fight

With your self loathing and pain, the why can’t be explained but the how can be brought into the light.

If you want this to make sense, let go of all pretense…

The Blues are Gray in Black and White.

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