Monthly Archives: November 2014

So – How Was the Play Mrs. Lincoln?

My grandfather died when I was sixteen years old. I contend he knew he was down to his last year, though I am the only one in the family that believes this. My grandparents lived near Sarasota and we lived several hundred miles away towards the opposite end of Florida, near St. Augustine. That last year we made several trips to visit them, and they made one trip at the beginning of the year to visit us.

Each visit my grandfather would always make some time for us to sit under his favorite tree in the front yard, just the two of us. It was during those times under the tree that my grandfather tried to give a life time worth of advice in just a few short moments to a sixteen year old boy.

We would chat about school, music, economics and what-not. Then he would turn to face me and say, “Some of this won’t make sense to you now, but you will understand later.” Thirty-six years later I am still remembering those gems of wisdom, and reaping the benefits when I follow his sage advice or enduring the pain when I do not.

One bit of advice I have followed faithfully, until this year is, “Do not, ever, go into business with family or friends, it is a good way to lose both.” I did.

Another piece of advice that I find painful to follow right now is, “When people show you who they are – don’t argue with them.” That one is hard. I grew attached to people, they became an extended family. I would have done anything for them (and did). Then they turned, describing some wretched creature I did not recognize, only to learn they were describing me. How could people I thought knew me so well, say the things that they said, or worse yet believe what they said?

I always thought I was someone who was easy to understand, but difficult to get really close too. Maybe I am more complicated than I thought – I don’t know. My little brother Jason calls me the “family perfectionist.” A title I disavow. I am not a perfectionist; I just do everything for myself. If I can’t do it I don’t need it. I will help others whenever I can, but I prefer to handle my own things myself.

My “little sister” got me to change that. She actually got me to step back and let others help. One of the things she said was that there are other people who want to help me, and by not allowing them too I am robbing them of that joy. I actually listened to her and started to “loosen up” a bit. But now what? A part of me wants to return to my shell. Another part of me wants to find a way to “fix” this rift. But one voice inside says they never really knew me, and I should just let go; take what I’ve learned and never look back.

I have never been able to do that completely. I always carry ghosts around on my shoulder; the submariners whose deaths would give me the gift of life 20 years later, my grandfather, my daughter Alexandra, and a love who died in a car accident when we were both still so very young.

My grandfather also used to say, “Always do what’s right. Not because it is easy, it never is. You do what’s right because it is right.” Another thing he said is, “A good man is not someone who does the right thing when people can see it. A good man is a man who does the right thing when no one can see it.”

I own my triumphs and defeats, my accomplishments and failures, my rights and wrongs. But when someone contributes the wrongs of someone else to me, and then shuts me out, there is very little I can do – except hurt. I did hurt my “little sister,” but these other people are “jumping on the band wagon” with any excuse they can come up with.

Yes, a part of me wants to return to my shell. But, another part of me is determined to take the other road and continue forward. In the midst of my confusion, trying to understand what was happening and why; another part of my life was already surging forward in unexpected ways. Amidst unimagined opportunity I still feel lost, trying to understand the madness that descended upon me that first weekend of November.

I will move forward and take advantage of the opportunities I have gained this month. But, a part of me will always remember what I lost this month, and the people that really never did know me. If I get a chance I will make amends with my “little sister,” the others – well I would just as soon forget them. Like I said, those other people never really knew me.

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The Holidays & My Tribe

The holidays (Thanksgiving is next week in the United States) is a time when I think about my family and friends, the people who make up “my tribe.” My tribe is not a conventional tribe, then I do not lead a conventional life style either. The people who are a part of the group I hold most dear are an eclectic group. They range in age from 9 to 90, men and women, near and far, some of them I agree with on almost everything, others I agree with them on almost nothing. Some of the people in my tribe I have known for more than four decades some for only a few months. Some of those in my tribe are veterans, others lifelong peace activists.

But, they all have one thing in common, they are my friends and I treasure each and every one of them. If you are in my tribe I will do whatever I can for you. That does not mean I won’t let you down from time to time, my heart is in the right place, but I am only human. About two weeks ago I got a midnight call (literally) from someone in my tribe, “I need you.” So, I went to the airport and told the man at the American airlines desk, “I need a seat on the next flight to Chicago.” I cannot always do that. Sometimes I do not have the money to travel like that. But, when I do and someone in that group needs me, I’ll get the next flight.


A few of them live near me, most don’t. My tribe lives quite literally around the globe. Some of them I know from my childhood and have not seen in years, but when I do see them we pick up right where we left off. One of my friends said that is because my sign is Aquarius and Aquarian are like that. Ok, I don’t know about that, but it is who I am. Some of my oldest friends (and I am not saying THEY are old) are people like Mike Davis, David Kenney, Philip Gallo, Martha Schull, Pam Arrington, Linary Kingdon, and that is just six I cannot list all of them, too many. Then there are the vets, men I served with in uniform. And other vets, men and women I have gotten to know since I got out of the military. Some are writers, some are readers, and some are both. Some were strangers who asked me to help out or donate something for a fund raiser, and we just kept in touch. Some are people who have survived the same tragedy I had to survive. Some of the women in my tribe are some of my ex’s (just goes to show you can have a good friendship with someone even if you can’t have a good relationship with them).

It is at this time of the year my thoughts turn to those who have left an empty chair at my table as well; most of them through death, and a few through their own choice. No matter the reason for their absence, they have a special place in my heart that will always have their name on it.

This is also the time of year that I like to say thank you too. Thank you for being my friend. My tribe is too large for me to name them all, a few of them are people like Mike Steele, Tim Campbell, Charles King, Theresa Grimm, Lonni Roberts, Michael Channon, Sheri Bessi, Tom Ziemann, Trish Rooney, Ken Christian, Theresa Byrne, Teri Gorenflo. It would take me a very long time to list them all. But, I am in debt to them all.

And so, at this time of giving thanks in the United States, I would like to say thank you to all of my friends, named and unnamed, you are my tribe and I will always treasure our friendship. Thank you for being my friend.


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You Need to Read This !

I came across this during my “daily read,” it made me stop and think for a while. I have had a rough few weeks, but that does not change the fact that I am blessed. I am blessed most of all by the people in my life, the people no longer in my life that I miss, and the people who will be in my life in the future. Read this, please. It will remind you that you are blessed as well, and if you follow this man’s example, you will be able to appreciate those blessings in the “here & now.”

“I AM A Dad With Stage Four Lung Cancer, And Here’s What I Know Now”

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Sometimes, You Just Have to do, What You Have to do.

Sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do. A phrase used to excuse so many actions we do, that it has become cliché. This is something that is a little different from what we normally associate with this phrase.

When you are having a problem and nothing seems to be going your way. Finances, home, work, or anything really; do something for someone else. I believe, and I know you have heard others say, “What you send out, comes back to you.” You do not have to believe this though. Let me tell you another reason why this is so important for you to do when you need to jump start your life.

By doing something for someone else you are doing two things:

1-You are taking your mind off of your problems.

You are clearing your mind. When anything dominates your thinking it will pass from the point where it is helpful, to a point where it paralyzes your thinking and action. At this point, nothing you do seems to help. Your mental states spirals into frustration.

Clearing your mind, and then looking back towards your problem, will help you see your situation from a knew place. This will let you see more clearly what you must do to get your life going in the direction you want it to go again.

2-By helping another person you are telling your subconcious mind, your problem solving mind, “As bad as things are for me, this other person is in a more dire position than I am.”

This is good for you for several reasons. Most importantly, you are helping another person. You are telling your subconcious mind that your problems are not as large as you think. You are also giving a better prospective to yourself of your problems, and where your problems fit into the world around you. You will feel better about yourself; no matter how bad things are, you could still take the time to help another person.

As, you go back to your own life, you now feel better about yourself, and your problems do not seem as large. When you get to this point, you can now solve your problem, and get back to the success you deserve.

This really does work. I’m speaking from my own personal experience. I have given away my last dollar to someone I felt had greater need, only to have my own financial needs resolved.

It will work for you. Please try this for me. You deserve the peace of mind and sense of accomplishment your generoscity will give you.


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Tragedy in the Desert

This past week SpaceShipTwo crashed during testing killing pilot Michael Tyner Alsbury, he was 39 years old. My condolences go out to Mr. Alsbury’s family and to everyone at Virgin Galactic.

Mr. Alsbury and those at Virgin Galactic are pushing the envelope of our capabilities. It is sad to lose someone courageous such as Michael Alsbury. Sir Richard Branson vows to find out what caused the crash, and I have no doubt he will.

Unfortunately, Mr. Alsbury was not our first loss while pushing the envelope of human capabilities, and he will not be the last. Just in the 20th century we had accidents such as Titanic, Hindenburg, USS Thresher, Apollo 1, and Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia.

We will mourn his loss and admire his courage. But, we will also honor his spirit and continue to advance our knowledge and abilities. And we will do it because of men like Richard Branson and Michael Tyner Alsbury.

Fair winds and following seas Michael.

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