Happy Mother’s Day!!!
I’ve spent a lot of time the past few days deciding on what to give you as a present. Flowers? A post card? Nothing seemed to really capture what I wanted to say to you — therefore, I have decided to write you this letter.
I begin to understand now, more than ever, that our time at this place is limited. For years, there are things I have wanted to say to you. Perhaps, somewhere along the way, I have said them. And maybe even, some of those things you remember. Even so, I want to do this here — right now — for you.
I’m not gay — nor am I getting married again — so relax!
I often look at Jake, and feel ashamed for the type of father I am to him. I was never a hunter. Never been much of a fisherman. And never much of an adventurer. I’m not even a big “spend a lot of time with you” type of person. In fact, I would describe myself as reclusive. I’ve tried to be those other things, but it’s simply not who I am. I’m a private person. I enjoy my peace and silence. And I’m not unhappy about it.
I see my son growing into a similar-type person. And for that, I feel like I’ve somehow shorted him in life. But have I? Or, like me, is that just who he is? I do not know the answer to that question. However, I must admit I feel a large degree of guilt because of it. In the small amount of time I have left with him before he becomes an adult, I guess the only thing I can really say to him is “Be the person you want to become.” Then, support him in every way I can towards achieving it.
I can never make Jake understand what we lacked in a father. Though not perfect, I’ve always tried to be here for him. To support him because I know I should — and to honor my obligations to him. To ensure he never goes without something he wants — or needs. I wonder if he’ll ever understand what that means — and why I do it. I wonder if he’ll appreciate it. Or if he’ll only see all of my flaws — the ones that, deep down, I know exist.
I’m saying this because I often wonder if you have, in your life, thought the same thing(s). Have I provided everything I could have for my children? And if not, is that my fault?
I wonder if you have regrets on how you raised us — or the life you have lived.
I have, on more than one occasion, gone by the old neighborhood on Georgetown Drive in Montgomery. I have often wondered what life would have been like had we stayed with our father. Truthfully, nothing in my mind convinces me that our lives would have been better. I’ll always believe you made the right decision.
I don’t have any regrets about the life we had to endure afterward. Sure, it’s never good to know our father could not care less about whether we lived or died. Or that society viewed us as white-trash because we were so poor — even some of our other family members. Still, it’s in those things that you learn a lot about life.
I once said that my finest quality was loyalty. I have not, at any time, ever cheated on a spouse. I have, at no time, abandoned my son. I have tolerated bad situations just because I can’t bring myself to leave someone else “high and dry.” Despite all of my flaws — and there are many — I am loyal to a fault.
Once, I believed I grew up this way because of the lack of loyalty our father displayed — out of spite for him. I would “show him” by becoming the person he never was. I realize now it had nothing to do with him at all. It had everything to do with you, and the example you set. I will never forget those days when you came home, changed, and then went to another job until almost midnight. Go to sleep. Wake up. Repeat the next day — six, seven days a week.
And you did that for years.
I will be forty this month. I can only think to the past and remember when you were forty. You lost some of the best years in your life then. And for what? Because you were always working to raise your kids.
The thought has brought a tear to my eye more than once. I don’t feel terrible for the environment we grew up in. I feel really bad because it’s like a piece of your life was robbed from you. You sacrificed so much for us — I can never comprehend how you must have felt. And to think you did it alone, frankly, leaves me a little bitter with other people.
I have often wished you could have those years back — that you would have been more selfish. Perhaps, you should’ve been.
The measure of a person is not his or her wealth. Or his job. Or her things. Or his looks. It’s what’s inside that truly matters. And when it mattered, you’ve unfailingly been there for us. It’s never been about what you could provide, it’s about what you’ve always been willing to give up for our sake.
No one has sacrificed more than you. My dear mother, you have no peers in this regard.
You are a beautiful spirit — and you are my hero. I hope you see your worth as much as I do. When I went through Marine basic training, I did just so I could see the proud look upon your face. I remember when you first saw me in my uniform like it was yesterday. That look made everything worth it. To make your mother proud — that is the greatest feeling a child can ever know.
And to see the type of grandmother you have become has only deepened my respect for you. Jake could have never known a better one. I thank you every day for that. You are beyond perfect to him. Though he is too proud and young to admit it, I can see it in his eyes — no one has ever been truer to him than you.
I don’t want to go into my grave wishing for a life I should’ve had. That’s the vow I’ve made to myself recently. I want to experience my life, and to do it on purpose.
Because of that, I am writing my very first novel. It’s a passion I’ve long had, and for far too long I’ve ignored. In fact, there are some who have expressed an interest in seeing the completed manuscript. Frankly, it doesn’t ever have to sell. It’s not about the money. Still, with each word I write — with every scene I craft — there is one perpetual thought that runs through my mind — “Will my mother be proud of the work I’m doing?”
Beyond loyalty, I have learned from you how to stand up after defeat. I do not despair in my losses, for I always know they can be regained. I have no worries that I can make it in this life. Because of you, I know there’s always a bright sun lingering beyond the clouds.
I wish that in your remaining years, you live at your very best. Do all. See all. Experience all. Love all. And gamble all — I know how much you love it! Do so knowing that you have my eternal admiration. You have worked hard and sacrificed for much of your life. You deserve every ounce of happiness you can squeeze from the time you have left.
What you have given has quietly cemented the people we have become. I hope you will find comfort in knowing that your legacy will live on long after you have left this place. Some of these lessons you never intended to teach. Some, perhaps, you may have wished otherwise. I hope you have no regrets in how you raised us. We are stronger people today because of you.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t pause for a moment to think about you. And how much I will miss you when the day comes you are no longer here with us.
I can only hope that I have been a good son to you. I pray that in spite of all the times when I have been mean, disrespectful, or unappreciative, that you will feel the depth of how much you mean to me. You are the most important person I have ever known. My admiration for you can never be tarnished. My appreciation can never be surpassed. My love for you can never be greater.
I want you to have the pride of knowing that for every minute you’ve spent working, for every ache you’ve felt, and for every tear you’ve ever cried — you’ve made someone else’s life a little better. I am one of those people. And I will never let a day pass when I don’t take a moment to appreciate that.
You are with me in the quiet of my truck when I am driving. You are with me when I’m brainstorming a new scene for my novel. You are in Jake every time I look at him. I am a part of you. And for every breath I take in the time I have left, you will remain with me.
It’s Mother’s Day for every mother tomorrow. For me, though, there is only one — this is your day. I am forever proud to be your son!
With my love,
I’ve had something on my mind the last 24 hours and I was hoping we might talk about it. It’s about the Boston Marathon bombing and the asshats who did it being Muslim.
Why do we care so much about their faith? I get that they are/were what we would call radicals, etc. But I still don’t get why that matters. An organization (and as I far as I know at the moment there was no actual organization) that supports evil is evil regardless of what religious face you put on it. Westboro Baptist is evil independent of their Christian face but, we don’t go around lumping Christians into the same group.
To me it seems that we are allowing ourselves to be distracted by things like faith and immigration when the real issues have nothing to do with either.
We have an actual American citizen – your misgivings about how he got that status or your issues with immigration laws aside – he is an actual American citizen. Afforded all the same rights and liberties and PROTECTIONS under the Constitution as the rest of us. And that’s the part that we should be paying attention to. While we look at the shiny object of Islam we might miss our Constitutional freedoms getting stripped right in front of our very faces. I am not saying that will happen, I am simply saying that it is much more important that any religious affiliation asshat might have. And should he be declared an enemy combatant (so far Obama says that won’t happen) that is precedent that affects us all.
I figure the Fourth Amendment has been used to wipe two Presidents’ asses already (Yayyyyyyyyy Patriotic Act!) and that is enough. And that is way more interesting to me than asshat’s religion.
And yes, I call him asshat because fuck his name getting any of my keystrokes. Plus, it’s really hard to spell. But mostly the keystrokes thing.
And I keep seeing gun lovers trying to draw some sort of comparison between this and Sandy Hook. Somehow trying to make this worse because of asshat’s religion. I don’t get that. I mean, the dead in Boston aren’t any more dead and the survivors aren’t more sad than their Sandy Hook counterparts, right?
There are a whole host of other issues in that vain (or vein? I always screw those two up and I don’t care enough to Google) that I can write a tome on but, this is mostly about the religious thing that has been in my head.
Jews, Christians and Muslims have been at each other for the better part of 2,000 years (granted Muslims joined the fracas late in the game). But I will never comprehend the logic of it. Yahweh, Allah and God the Father (of the Christian Holy Trinity) are the some fucking guy! All three faiths trace their roots back to Abraham. Same God, same starting point, three not-so-different religions. They all worship the same God, they all have a body count, they all are convinced they are the one true faith.
And I know there are differences in each faith blah, blah, blah but, this is like three kids with the same dad arguing over who daddy loves more. It’s enough to make me give up on us as a species, really.
Anyway, all I know for sure is that we’re allowing ourselves to be distracted by things that don’t matter much (religious extremism is as old as prostitution. maybe older) while we miss the really important thing issues in this whole ugly mess.
That’s all I got for now. Feel free to chime in. I’m interested, really. If you can make it make sense to me I would be impressed.
My pal, the other dude, Rudy likes to call it “finding funny in a dark place.”
This is more of a quick thought than anything else. After watching Rudy and Corey discuss suicide the other day on The Middle of Nowhere podcast, I really felt compelled to add a little something — my two cents. First, if you haven’t watched it yet, you should. Second, I’m not here to talk about suicide, in particular. But really, just about those dark places in my life.
I suppose every person on the planet has their similar war stories. My dark places have always stemmed from broken relationships, marriages, and the like. And in each instance, I’ve always had the best intentions. To make the best of things. To be in love. To build a life with another person. To live, as they dreamily say, happily ever after.
And I have failed. More than once — and miserably. The real stinker is that it hurt — deeply — each and every time. I’m not afraid to admit I’ve cried until I’ve ached. That I’ve destroyed a lot of stuff I would have liked to had later. That I have, more than once, had a hard time moving on with my life. And that maybe I still, to this day, harbor deeply-rooted feelings of love and hatred for those people.
Whose fault was it? Hell, who knows? I know I could type, and type, and type, and type a long list of grievances, bitches, and complaints about how I was unjustly wronged. Perhaps, those people could compile their own lists under the title “Things I Hate About That Dickhead, Scott Williams.” In the end, things just don’t work out. Forever can’t be understood by people who live their entire lives in intervals. People do fall out of love. People do mistreat the ones they promised to cherish. People do eventually get over you.
And they make it look so easy. While you, not so much.
That, my friends, is life — isn’t it?
Have I ever thought about suicide? I’ll answer it only to say this — yes. The rest is too personal for me to discuss, so I’m going to let you cats marinate on that.
My suggestion on how to move on is simply this — create. For different people, this means different things. Some people create jokes for comedy skits. Others write. Others learn a skill, like how to paint. And finally, others just simply go and create — you guessed it — another relationship. By the way, that last bit never worked out for me real well.
But you can’t sit on your ass. Well, actually, you can — like if you’re writing or something. I’m actually in the process of writing my first novel. And the truth is, I couldn’t do it if I were happily married. Yeah, you read that right. I would have never, ever started writing this novel if I were still married. Jacked up isn’t it? But, it’s true. My inspiration was born from pain. Darkness, in some ways, has compelled me to not just write — but to write well. And in the process, I have connected with something that I love to do.
In essence, without the pain, my creation would be lacking something. A recipe almost. If anything is taken away, then it loses a little flavor.
Does that mean I should be grateful for all of the pain? Well? My initial reaction is hell no, because it sucks. But, what if, for some strange reason, this pain actually makes me better at my craft? Would all the pain have been worth it? I’m not sure I’ll ever know the answer to that. I think most of us, whether we admit it, or are even currently happy, look back and wonder “what if?”
Unless I sell a million books — then I think I can say it was worth it. Hell yeah — who’s laughing now?!?
But even that would be a lie. You carry those feelings the rest of your life. The joy. The hurt. The memories — like the day Sonny and Cher sang the most romantic song I ever heard, or when a cup of mud was the most romantic gift I ever gave. Memories of a waterfall, and a heart shaped leaf.
The real comfort is in knowing that in every face I see each day, I know that person has been there. Or is there now. And that we all truly, deep down, understand one another — even if we are ignorant as hell to it.
I know I don’t normally share my personal blog stuff here but, this feels different. Go read it and then watch the video.
If Scott ever buys a microphone he might sound less like a marble chewing hillbilly.
You can hear it here on Spreaker.
All right folks, this is from chapter two/scene three of my novel. I am somewhere along the half-way point of writing it. I am putting this here just to give you a snippet of what I am working on. From this scene, you’ll sense one of the major plot points of this novel (that this is a love story). As a setup, Sofia has been away for quite for some time. Prior to this point, she’s had a shitty life. A real shitty life. Jake is a childhood friend of hers. She sees him for the first time in four years. There is a bit of conflict between them preceding this. But, I caution, there is way more going on in this story than what you’ll read here. Hope you enjoy!
I rubbed my hands against my jean shorts in nervous anticipation when I finally arrived at the spring. For a second, I considered turning around. What are you doing Sofia? The trail emptied into a clearing a dozen yards away from the lip of an embankment on its western side. I closed my eyes and drew in a deep breath. It was nearly dusk.
I caught my first glimpse of the timbered lean-to situated on the opposing rim of the spring. Interlocked pine logs created a solid wall around three sides. Mosquito netting was rolled, and strapped to the overhanging roof at its open-faced front. In it, a cot with a sleeping bag ran along the back wall, a small table just above the cot, and a lamp on top of it. To the left of the cot a mini fridge, and at the front of the shelter were various supplies and tools. A rather large fire pit smoldered several yards in front of the structure. It was a serene, yet rugged setup. It seemed like a place so unlike the Jake Pierce I once knew.
I looked down into the mini-canyon and watched as Dodger loped around the bottom in huge strides. His paws thumped like a bass drum against the wet soil. How could he be so vibrant at such an old age? I canvassed further, but did not see Jake. My eyes returned to Dodger, who by this time had spotted me. Covering ground faster than a predator, he bound up a ten foot high embankment in two lopes, and padded towards me.
“Hey there Dodger!” I called sweetly.
As he approached, I noticed the graying that Gable had spoken of. He had always been a docile animal. This time, however, he padded to within a few yards, and sat — staring at me with the face of a stone gargoyle. I felt uneasy and intimidated suddenly.
“What’s wrong boy — don’t you recognize me?” I asked.
He swept behind me like a gentle breeze on a summer’s day, startling me when he spoke. “I’m sure he still remembers you Sofia. He just wonders why you’re here.”
At first, I didn’t even recognize Jake. I was noticeably taller than him four years ago. Now, he bettered me by nearly half a foot — standing somewhere just below six feet. His lean figure marched in brown carpenter jeans and a soiled, white T-shirt. His arms which once suggested his feebleness as a child, curled underneath several large pieces of wood. Firmed and featured outlines now threatened a budding masculinity in them.
Mostly though, he was conspicuously quiet, a departure from the clumsy-footed boy I once knew. His feet glided across the blades of grass without the slightest of sound, despite the heavy, brown-leathered hiking boots he wore. It was as if watching a white-capped wave approach from afar on a beach. But it was his eyes again that stood out. They smoldered under the setting sunlight in pigments of green and gold, while the bangs of his shoulder-length, straight brown hair tucked neatly behind his ears.
I flushed with embarrassment, hoping my reaction had not been obvious. I wasn’t sure what I had felt when I first saw him. Though, it was deep and definite.
“Jake?” Oh my gosh!
“Sofia,” he whispered. The wind nearly carried his words.
“Oh my goodness, you look great! Dirty — but great.” I offered in earnest. My eyes inspected his facial features. I figured him to be around seventeen now. In my mind, I envisioned him growing into an emaciated, acne-laden teen during these years. In contrast, tanned skin, clear and smooth, covered the defined contours of his face. My eyes traced him like a puzzle in the Sunday newspaper.
His head gave a quizzing tilt, and a kind, pursed-lip smile creased across his face. At once, I suspected he noticed my not-so-subtle stare, and I quickly shifted my eyes away from him. His silence, which lasted only for a few seconds, drowned me in discomfort. His eyes mimicked in sweeping glances of all that had changed with me. A subtle lift in his cheeks signaled a curious amusement.
Dodger provided a much-needed distraction as he padded up, and sat next to Jake. Though, it seemed even he carried a touch of resentment as he stared on with his grayed, stoic face. I greeted him again with a smile, and cooed at him, attempting in vain to elicit a wag in his tail. I resorted to a friendly scratch behind his ear.
“So, Gable tells me you’ve been staying out here quite a lot. I would have never guessed you for being the outdoor type.” I said.
I looked down and shuffled my feet as he remained silent. The sound was deafening . I looked up at him again. His stare fixed squarely on my face. “Well, I just wanted to drop in and say hey.” I said. “It’s been forever since I’ve seen you. I’ll be heading back now. I didn’t mean to disturb you.” I turned and cursed as I walked away. How could you have been so stupid to come here?
“I’m sorry to hear about your mother,” he interrupted a few paces later.
I stopped to ponder his words, though I didn’t turn back to face him. His voice even sounded different. A previous cracking, insecure shriek, now replaced by a measured, deliberate southern twang. The bass in his vocal cords rang with the tone of a grown man. When I did turn, he had somehow covered the distance between us. He invaded my space with almost insulting closeness. Though, I felt none. His breath was laden with the scent of ripened plums when he exhaled.
“Thank you.” I replied.
Four years ago, I would have shoved him to the ground, or belittled him. Part of what I had always liked about him was the fact that he was the one “man” I could control. What stood before me now was someone of a different sort. What I felt was something of a different order. It was the same I felt the last time I had seen him. Standing this close to him, I felt terribly and utterly vulnerable.
“I like the shelter. It looks peaceful. How long did it take you to build it?”
“Are you hungry?” he asked, dismissing my question.
Was he being rude or bold? Should I have been offended, I wondered? Perhaps. Strange though, I didn’t feel like it. “Maybe — what’s on the menu.”
“Charred hot-dogs over an open flame. Fruit. Cheese. Water. And, some beans — if you want,” he offered.
“Sounds delicious,” I lied, giggling.
We talked for hours as flames from the pit licked the underbelly of the night’s sky. I shifted my feet when Dodger collapsed at the base of where I sat. I rubbed his belly with the tips of my toes. Within seconds, he snored a low roar that warned away any prospective, nocturnal invaders. And I soon realized I felt comfortable with Jake. Perhaps, too comfortable.
Jake was different now. He had an endless supply of dirty jokes. I laughed so hard once until I snorted, scaring Dodger awake, which then only compounded our combined laughter. He seemed older than his years. And he was still a great listener. For a moment, I considered pouring out the past few years to him. To tell him everything that I had been through. Things that I had never told anyone. In the end, no one truly knew who I was, or what I felt.
But that moment faded as quickly as it arose. No, he wouldn’t understand. He would only see me as damaged and unclean. After all, I knew that I was.
“It’s late. I think I need to be heading back,” I told him.
“I’ve already sent a text to Dad. I told him you were staying overnight,” he replied.
I tilted my head, and raised an eyebrow. “That’s a little presumptuous, don’t you think?”
He raised his hands to ease my defense. “I didn’t mean to presume. It’s just late. I’d feel better if you weren’t walking the trail at night. Besides, I have an extra sleeping bag. You take the cot. Me and ‘ol Dodger here will curl up next to the fire. Okay?”
“I can take of myself Jake. I’m not scared of some trail. I don’t need you or your father babying me all the time,” I snapped.
“Indeed,” he whispered. “Well then, good night Sofia.” He walked to the shelter and pulled another sleeping bag from underneath the cot. “Come on boy,” he called to Dodger, “Let’s not crowd this lady anymore tonight.” He then unfurled the bag and curled inside of it. He rolled his shoulders until his back faced towards me.
What was his angle? What sort of game was he trying to play? I stood behind him, unsure of what to do next. I didn’t like being told what to do. And he wasn’t going to start. I cursed him in defiance — all the way until I slipped inside the sleeping bag on the cot. I narrowed my eyes at him.
Dodger lay beside Jake as I grumbled and protested a bit more. His head remained upright until I finally settled in, and ceased arguing. He stood and stretched, then gave Jake a final sniff, as if to say goodnight. He moved slow and deliberate until he was within arm’s reach of the cot. He circled a few times, then collapsed with a heavy sigh. I reached out and scratched along the white stripe of his head.
I then looked down again at Jake. His position remained unchanged; his back still facing me. I wonder what he’s thinking right now? I had no sooner thought the question when I heard just the slightest of wisps. A faint snore — coming from him. I giggled. As I closed my eyes, I noticed something I had not done in a very long time. I was smiling. I was happy to be here – with them.
Good night Jake. Good night Dodger.
And for the first time in weeks, I slept in peace.