Tag: Column

Dear Reader:

plate, knife and fork Vector illustration handdrawn doodle style  continuous line drawing food not set stock illustrations

Sometimes – a great deal of times – it is hard to explain the WHY! And in the past, I don’t know, eighty hours, MY reasons WHY I have done some of the things I did are strange & contradictory.

I was in an “altercation” with another Man four nights ago. No need to get into the reasons. I did something, he did something. We got into it.

Bad things, of course, were said.

There were no resolutions, no apologies and, worst of all, no purposes to the confrontation. It was just something that happened between two Men that were angry at one another.

The smoke had pretty much cleared by the next morning. Some smoldering, uncomfortable coals still burned between the two of us. But they were not hot enough for me not to go & talk to him like, I don’t know, a civilized person, and we shook hands after the conversation.

Last night, I cooked supper for that man. That same man that was screaming at me a few nights prior.

My Special Lady Friend worked a 12-hour shift yesterday. Naturally, making supper for her & me seemed almost a given.

My menu was Seashell Noodles in a creamy cheese sauce, with parsley & ground pepper on top. For the entre: flatiron grilled steak left over from the night before.

(We celebrated a birthday on The Compound, & steak was what I cooked for everyone.)

Also: on that night I was told the man I was close to going toe to toe with, who was at this birthday celebration, found out his father is passing.

Once again, I’m not going to go into details.

That would be disrespectful, I believe.

However, his situation bothered me on some odd, emotional level. What would I do? How would I react if I got that kind of tragic news? These were questions that stuck with me; bothered me, at times, throughout the day where there was only one thing I could think of doing: offer the dude a plate of food.

And that is what I did.

I walked up to him, told him I was cooking at the house, and would he care for some supper.

“Oh, hell yeah, if there’s food, I’ll take some,” he said.

It was a good thing to hear.

Sometimes things are not so bad you don’t offer to help, if you can.

Just as much as doing the Right thing is not synonymous with orchestrating a Good thing.

It’s sometimes hard to explain the WHYs..


All Of It Was Always There

Do you know it costs money to clean cloths!!!

The soap & fabric softener sheets.

Quarters to kick the Machines into life.

After 37 years of life on this planet you would think I would have grasped this concept sooner. Or maybe I simply forgot about it. Last week i was brutally confronted with the inconvenience of being broke (not that unusual) & not having anything to wear… well, nothing to wear that smelled good.

It costs $1.75 for a load of laundry to be washed & dried in this building. I did not ask for any money to clean my cloths. Even when I was homeless, approaching strangers to ask for money seemed wrong. And the thought terrified me. I would ask for a bottle. I would ask for a cigarette. Never money.

Thankfully, to my benefit & to the benefit of those in close proximity to me, the Program I am in has a donation room.

(That did not solve my underwear problem, but I found some much-needed shirts, socks & a pair of slacks.)

Back in my early 20s I had an apartment in Akron, OH. I lived alone. My long-time girlfriend at the time was over on a regular basis. She had an apartment of her own not far from me &, in hindsight, my life would be very different today had we moved in with one another.

Where I am at now – how I am living now – requires more Self Reliance, Responsibility & Acceptance than I have had since those Akron Days.

There were times in Missoula, back when I cared for my son, that count, I guess. But I felt as though I was a part of a unit. And I was. It’s called a family. Now, I feel more grounded. More real! for lack of a better term.

Today, realizing clean cloths requires cash reminded me of my first month at the Akron apartment. The end of the month, to be specific.

Do you know toilet paper does not magically appear under the sink or in the bathroom closet?

You have to buy it!

Funny: I don’t remember having to do that as a kid. And my mother sure as heck did not tell me about buying the stuff. I had to learn the hard way. And you don’t want me to write that rotten story.

There were other things, too:

Shampoo & Hand Soaps.

Napkins & Paper Towels.

Resentment started growing over these foul products – products, I think, are essential. Not realizing how important they were to me until I tried going without them. Not so much to save money. No. No. I was childish. I wanted to spend my dollars on fun things.

A lot of things have changed since I was twenty. I’m a little leery on spending money on something that is fun, or funny.

(I feel uncomfortable having money – period!)

But those cloths need to be laundered; dirty dishes need to be washed & dried; the cell phone needs to stay on; fees & fine payments need to be up-to-date.

Books can be obtained on loan from a library. My boots may be frayed & falling apart, but the Better Wardrobe can wait… affordable gifts to others are better than wasteful indulgences.

It is the first of the month.

My bank account has been replenished for the month.

November will be the first month I have – as a test – to show myself how adult I will act with $$$. With maintaining an apartment & “Working A Program” as an independent… with nurturing better relationships with those important to me… with working the word – all of these things seem to have a sense of fragility.

And I feel I have to prove to those people I want very much to see that I am capable of rising up from where I have been for far too long. – That I have to be better before I can see them.

(One of the things keeping me up at night: when will I feel Good & Confident enough to see any of them? Will I ever be well enough to be around them?)

Love from a distance Protects all very well, in its own way. But what does it illuminate?

I could have left last night. Money at my disposal. Cheap motels everywhere. The bottles standing where bottles stand: at attention, waiting for attention. My Demon a phone call away.

Those things will always be out there, waiting.

It’s Coming!

How to Draw a Book

Today is January 06, 2022. I thought I was going to write a New Year’s piece on New Year’s Day. You know the type. That piece of writing that talks about resolutions, regrets, growth & failure. But I did not do that.

What I have been doing is re-working the blogs (editing & expanding them) for a book. I have still been writing, working… trying to keep on good terms with My Special Lady Friend. Still rough housing with the dogs, feeding livestock, laughing & generally trying to be born again.

(Not in the Christian sense of being “Born Again.” I mean pushing towards some kind of growth.

The coming of the “New Year” and the promises we make to ourselves is hard. Not to be pessimistic – & I am NOT a pessimist – but there is that hollow sadness of knowing you (me) will not live up to what we have set up for ourselves.

What have I set up for myself?

To have another one of Dreams become a reality: holding a copy of MY BOOK.

I know myself well enough to know when I hold that damn thing in my hand, I’ll want to weep. Weep for all the things that had to happen for me to hold that little item in my hands. I’ll think of all the people I hurt… all the people I love… I’ll think about those I have lost – JUST FOR THAT MOMENT.

That moment when I see the spine of that book on a shelf, I hope the void I’ve had for so long will be filled. – That I have accomplished something!

And I will be reminded how difficult it was. Knowing how much time I have spent Working the Word. All the years spent alone, sketching in the journals & notebooks, & all the typewritten pages stacked up – all the computer files! My goodness, all the walls I would jot a quote or two on.

And has been done for that moment the book is in my hands – my VALIDATION I am a writer!

However, I don’t think I will be able to read the damn thing.

I’m serious.

I know myself well enough to know I would criticize the hell out of myself. It would not surprise me if I started marking the pages blood red with Editor’s Pen.

It would end up looking like something from a crime scene!

It will be better to remind myself to breathe, slide the book on the shelf – AND START ON THE NEXT ONE.

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.