Monday, November 28, 2011

Going Home

"When I want to go home, I'm goin' mobile" - Roger Daltrey.

So it was with a head full of chaff on a mid-November Saturday that Your Humble Narrator veered the Batmobile onto the General Jubal Early and ventured  across the mighty Potomac into rural Maryland. It was a fine day and the wayback machine dial whirred to a stop at the year: 1965.

I thought of my childhood as I drove toward the house my father built and I (arguably) grew up in. In his mind, it was to become an eternal family compound. A place where one could go and find respite in the forest.
A place of substance.

I'll always remember the crickets on summer nights as we slept with the windows open. The balloon races across the screened porch as the storm front roared through, the balloons carefully weighted to drift between floor and ceiling. Building - model cars, basements. Fixing things. Learning to paint and draw. Bike riding. Playing in the creek. Sledding and Christmas caroling.

Sure, a lot of bad stuff went down there. But time has a funny way of pushing those things to the back of your mind if you're lucky. Sure, it became less of a home as my Dad accumulated and ruminated over 30 years of bachelorhood. Nothing a few hundred hours of effort and 4 rolloff dumpsters couldn't cure.

After his death the house was sold and sat vacant for over a year. And then, as I rounded the curve in the road, there it was:

The trees I know my Dad hugged had been cleared.
But I noticed with some satisfaction - the foundation was still there.

It is said that Home is where the heart is. Close your eyes, and remember the good times. And if you're lucky enough to still have family around, let them know you don't take them for granted. Happy holidays.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Running Plays

Alas it has been some time since Your Humble Narrator has emerged from the Garden of Forking Paths. While meditating on the concepts of Fatalism and Determinism, the classic song from the Godfathers came to mind.

Come on. You know it.

That's right. BIRTH. SCHOOL. WORK. DEATH. And in between, what? Surely there must be time to run a few plays. Spin the wheel. So off we go, down the Garden Path.

We run plays all the time in our day-to-day existence, between the ominous milestones set forth by the Godfathers. It's what gets us by. It helps us to think we have control over the Outcome, at least in the short term. But not all plays can be run with confidence. And if all the outcomes were certain, what fun would that be? Sometimes, you have to take a leap of faith. Run the play.

Adjustments are made. Coincidence? Perhaps. Or was that God winking at you? I was struck by this quote from An American Tragedy, which I'm sure can be traced to other literature somewhere:

"Rest in the strength of Him that holds the world in the hollow of His hand".

That sure does make it easier to run plays.