There it is again.
The notice of the annual all 1960’s class reunion.
A reminder of about the most unhappy year of my entire existence.
I don’t know how they tracked me down for the invite, but Connie whose name I do remember, but whose face I don’t, sent the notice, and all of the pain of that year flooded in on me as I remembered events that I had no control over overwhelmed and shamed me.
It isn’t like I had committed some unpardonable act or anything, but I just gave up on school and my hometown. All I had left was a bad attitude and an even worse reputation, and all I wanted was to be gone. Anywhere. And so a few short months before graduation, I quit. Just like that. Walked away.
Some time later I returned to Alamosa to go to college, but frankly, academia and I have no love for each other, so once again in my sophomore year I cut and ran, never to return.
I found peace much later in life in religion and a second marriage. But at odd moments like this the old days rise up to disturb my little utopia out in the Texas pampas …
It is bluebonnet season in Texas. But they are best viewed from the road …
Late in the evening I gradually prepare for bed. The hearing aids are the first thing to come out, and a glorious hush settles in. Little things like fans on computers and air filters make a lot of noise that I somehow tune out. Then I am surrounded by a real silence. I am reminded of Revelations 8:1
“When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour …”
That must be an overwhelming half hour.
One treat I liked as a kid was deviled ham sandwiches. I suspect that it must have been inexpensive since we didn’t by expensive meats back then. But it was salty and hammy, and the little strings of desiccated ham got caught between your teeth and could only be removed with a toothpick and much sucking of the teeth. It was wonderful stuff.
But since I got religion, I don’t eat no ham, but I haven’t forgotten the taste. Bacon. Spiral cut, sugar cured ham. Ham bones in beans. I do miss it from time to time. Or I think I do, since I don’t eat it. So in looking for high protein/low carb snacks, I came across chicken deviled something-the-other. They said chicken on the can, so I bought a can and hid it in the pantry. I am surprised Snookums didn’t tell me I had to eat it outside since she keeps a pretty close eye on the larder and it is hard to hide stuff like that from her. She doesn’t approve this kind of gourmet. The woman doesn’t know what’s good.
Today I got carried away with breakfast, and served up a working man’s breakfast of runny eggs a-la bell peppers, hash-browns with onions, and turkey sausage links. It wasn’t bad, but we were still full when dinner rolled around and so a every working-man for himself day was declared. We do that ever so often when we find a good excuse to not prepare dinner. I don’t know what the upper limit is on those declarations would be, but we have never reached that high bar in spite of several each month.
So later, I got to thinking about that can in the pantry when my stomach started making suggestions. Yeah. That would be a gourmet supper for one! Spread on saltines paired with Château Diet Squirt, I sat back in my brand new $59 executive chair to enjoy this latest discovery in modern food technology.
Bleah! What some nasty carp that was! Grainy with some chunks hidden in a porridge looking matrix of mystery food, using the term food in its loosest sense. But my loyal dining companions ‘Becca da Beagle and her brother Tic were watching, and so I scrapped the grainy goo into their waiting maws until it was all gone. They seemed to like the stuff, but you can never taken my mutts assessment of food seriously. I have see what they will eat.
I saw an internet meme that went “I was hungry and looked in the cupboard for some food, and there was only ingredients.”. That’s me. When I go foraging on an every man for himself day, I want to open something and eat it. I don’t want to fry, mix, toast, cut, spread or plate anything. Just eat it. A spoon or fork is as far as I want to mess with it.
So I have been trying to stock stuff I can just eat, yet will last awhile just sitting in the pantry. The do make vienna sausages out of chicken that are bad.
Please stop with the clucking …. some day I’ll sneek a peek into YOUR cupboard …
They are about two for a dollar, and they kind of work, but I need more variety. And I have to really watch the label. My once favorite brand on close examinatons said it also contained pork and other meats beside chicken.
But down here we also get a lot of food from Mexico and I found a brand with just chicken. I can trust the Mexicans, right?
Yogurt works. But you have to use it up. Ice cream bars, but expensive. String cheese, but not very filling. Bakery goods give me heartburn so raiding the cookie jar in the evening is out.
I dunno. There has to be something that isn’t loaded with sugar that you can eat without dragging every damned put out of the cupboard just too cook it …
While musing this morning I ran across a little piece from another elderly curmudgeon I sometimes read when he isn’t grumping about his miserly Social Security benefits. He caught himself slowing his pace at a big box store so that he didn’t arrive at the door before a liberal woman did. I don’t know how he knew she was liberal, but I have my guesses. They do tend to share a lot in common. But to continue, he didn’t want to have to hold the door for her and risk being berated for his sexism.
I have caught myself doing things like that. Changing my gait or direction of travel to avoid groups of people wearing their tribal clothes. I am still courteous of older women, at least those not mounted on mobility scooters. Those I avoid like smallpox. My bigotry isn’t confined to race and gender. Groups of youth, gatherings of disabled people and aged mall walkers are a short list of people I circle around when I am out amongst them.
I have had the compassion beat out of me by a lifetime of ill-mannered boors, social misfits and crusaders. You don’t dare stand holding an open door and smiling a good day at this bunch of aggrieved people.
So I have become aggrieved myself.
No longer will I circle around such people. I’ll wear my outrage where everyone can see it. Maybe I’ll carry a cane to threaten people who stand in my way or lollygag along the aisles of the supermarket. A friendly greeting will be met with a glowering scowl. Stand aside at my outrage!
I was reminded by Sherry Oermann this morning that cedar flu season is upon us. Now I know why I am so congested today. It would have been worse, but I run cassock filters with HEPA filters day and night. One by the bed, and one behind me in the studio. But with four dogs who go in and out at will through a doggie door, it is not likely that I will ever live completely pollen free.
I think it is boomerang karma. Most of my life I have looked at people with environmental allergies as … well … fakers. Yeah … damned elitist of me. But now it is payback time as I huddle indoors with the filters running, Albuterol inhaler at the ready, and brutal percussion massager plugged in and ready to thump my chest and help me cough up the phlegm.
Glad the first round of saber rattling is over after killing a terrorist mastermind, though now the anti-war coalition in Congress has grown surly because no one listens to their bleating, other than a few fringers, anyway. Don’t look for it to help much in the long term, but I prefer terrorists to live their lives furtively scanning the skies for the hellfire missile with their name on it.
Not much else going on in my rather small universe other than a litany of maladies brought on by bad habits and old age.
And the coffee is always good, the days and nights come and go unceasingly, and I muse.
Well, it has arrived. Christmas Eve.
Sunshiny day, much like every other sunshiny day in winter. Green mistletoe clumps on the pecan tree outside are slowly killing the tree, making the tree look like it isn’t fully dormant. I will miss it when it finally goes. The wildflowers are starting to push up greenery through the dead bermudagrass, making the yard look like it still has green grass growing. I find it metaphorical. Sort of.
So’s on life goes. Day follows day, night follows night. Talk radio will be a mishmash of “the best of’s” and pre-recordings. The stores close early. TV is a wasteland of saccharine morality plays and media agnostics are wishing me a Merry and Happy.
And I marvel at those who can make some sort of connection between Santa Clause and the birth of a Messiah. The meaning is lost on most of us.
But it marks the hump between my annual depression that starts around Thanksgiving and ends with planting day. The last few years the depression has moderated, and I seem to easily carry its weight on my shoulders, albeit with much groaning and moaning as I rise up and lay down.
And the coffee is good and complements the giant sugar cookies. I can’t be a slave to diabetes every waking hour.
Merry Christmas to those of you who find meaning in the greeting, and good morning to everyone!
So the day unfolds like most other days, with some unusual unease at blithe and careless politicians and their activities. Despite my efforts to touch the world with only the lightest of touches, they manage to intrude on my reverie and so I prowl the newsfeeds trying to gauge the temper of the body politic.
I know that over time people’s greed causes them to devolve into misery and oppression, and perhaps the dissolution in our nation is inevitable. Still, we tried, and I really hate to see the nation so easily lose focus. It takes a very moral people to self-govern, and I don’t think we have the chops for it. Like Eve, circling the tree, listening to the snake as she marvels at the beauty hanging off the branches, we demand the right to be as god. Which is funny in an ironic sort of way. God’s who grow old and die, and can’t add one inch to our height without some sort of artifice.
So once again, I pick up my figurative marbles and exit the game. I really suck at being God and find my happiness is the ability to munch on breakfast cookies, sip coffee and ponder this miracle called life. Someday, old Thanatos will tap me on the shoulder, and all my musing will end, and the world’s supply of cookies and coffee will fractionally increase.
And another old man will arrive on the scene to chronicle the passing of days. Then another. And another. Then it will end.