9:36… Christmas Eve…

It’s 9:36 in the morning. Christmas Eve morning. I have been awake, at the computer, since 6:30.

I should have been writing hours ago.

But, being Christmas Eve, I decided to go online, go onto Messenger, and wish people a Happy Holidays. Well, I got a response back.

Ms. B___ is a single mother of 6. She is working her way through Nursing School. And she is a miracle on legs.

Not only does she find the time to work, go to school, raise children & spend time with me on the computer early in the morning before going to work, she spent most of our conversation sharing the struggles & conflictions she has had with a man in her life having issues with Anger & Addiction.

Her friend, Mr. J___ has been in her life for a couple of years. Finally, thank God, she got herself out of that situation.

Or, I have asked myself, has she really?

You know what I mean.

There are still feelings there, no doubt.

And for anyone that has ever loved an addict, there will always be feelings. Loved ones may see the potential ofa person under the influence.

I typed-up what I thought would help her.

But what do I know?

I’m just as screwed up, if not more, than the rest of them. – Hell, I am one of them!

What was odd to me was the Role switcharoo… It was that moment – this Christmas Eve, 2021 – I was the one helping. As little as my role may have been, I was helping. By listening, by being available at that early hour, I was helping… I hope.

And I hope to help more.


I was operating a CASE Loader, pushing limbs & stumps & debris into a large bonfire. I thought about my father. How many Christmas Eves did he spend running a machine? Probably a handful…

As I was moving the debris into the flames, driving through the smoky North Carolina air, I thought about the difference between tough & strong.

I am not a strong person.

A strong person has the endurance, the patience & the will to keep it together when it comes to things like jobs… like mortgages… like the hardships of everyday life I find mysterious.

Tough is being stabbed, having broken bones, walking miles & miles to nowhere in particular. Just as long as it is somewhere other than THERE.

Here being a fantasy. Here being a place you want to avoid.

Tough & Strong.

Two totally different things.

Maybe one day I can be both.

Hopefully, one day, all of us can be.


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